19 July 2018: Eastbourne to Cuckmere
Start point grid reference: TV 586 979
Nine of us from HF Holidays started at a car park on the B2103 on the downs immediately to the west of Eastbourne. We walked along the road a short way and then took a steep climb up to the top of the downs, walking to the west of a wooded area to reach the Memorial to Bomber Command at Beachy Head.
The Memorial was placed there because Beachy Head was the last place in England seen by many in Bomber Command as the flew towards the European mainland. According to the inscription on the Memorial, of 110,000 people who served in Bomber Command, over 55,000 were killed.
From there we took the South Downs Way due west, passing the “new” lighthouse, which was built at the foot of the cliffs over 100 years ago.
We carried on walking until we reached the earlier “Belle Tout” lighthouse (pictured). In 1995 this was physically moved 25 yards or so further inland. It still looks alarmingly near the cliff edge, presumably because of erosion since.
From there we walked down to Birling Gap, which has a café, toilets and an outside picnic area, which we made use of to eat our picnic lunches.
After lunch it was time to ascend again and then tackle the famous Seven Sisters. These are a series of climbs and steep descents. We chose our routes down carefully, as the way was very steep in places. We realised it paid to keep inland.
After Haven Brow there was a gentler descent towards the Cuckmere River. Here we walked along the causeway until reaching bridge on the A259 and the very welcome Cuckmere Inn.