About us ~
Bikes ~
 Videos ~ Gallery ~ SearchLinks

Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man

Saturday 1st December 2007
Seaford Head - Alfriston - Southease
12 miles

The weather forecast was for gales and rain, so quite reasonably we decided to do a walk that would take us to the windiest place we know in Sussex, Firle beacon. On a normal sunny day in summer the wind can howl across this 217 metre hill and so we knew from the start that it was going to be a challenge.
We started off by getting the train to Seaford, walking along the front and up onto Seaford Head. This beauty spot is a local nature reserve and gives truly amazing views of the Seven Sisters. It also has several contenders for "bench of the county". After spending a long time wandering around this huge slab of chalk, we finally wobbled our way north along the west bank of the River Cuckmere, past the White Horse of Litlington and up onto the Downs near Alfriston. This path takes you above the level of the river for some while and allows you to see the whole of the floodplain north of Exceat Bridge, a view you wouldn't get from the East bank, which is at river height. From here we could see all of the birds and animals clearly and we got great views of a kingfisher hovering over one of the brooks.
Up until this point we had walked in reasonably good weather with rain showers around us but not on us. A particularly dark rainfall area ahead of us was illuminated with a magnificent rainbow. The colours, especially the violet and indigo stood out very clearly against the dark background. When we got up onto the Downs towards Firle beacon our good luck ended! Not only had the sun gone down but we were hit by a terrific gale along with an intense downpour that lasted until we left the Downs again at Southease. This didn't ruin the day at all though, we were wearing the right stuff,  we remained warm and reasonably dry, and we knew exactly where we were.
At Southease Station was our journeys end, and here also was Mark Williams, the actor and comedian who had missed his stop at Lewes. He commented that he was glad that he had got to see Southease although with absolutely nothing there, it wasn't the hottest place around for Saturday night entertainment (especially in the pouring rain)!
In all it was a strenuous 12 mile walk with incredible views of not only the Seven sisters, but of the Cuckmere floodplain too. We intend to do it all over again, but next time will be on a hot summers day.
Birds seen today included; Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Grey Wagtail, Redshank, Fieldfare and Long-tailed Tits. At dusk on the Downs there must have been 5000 rooks all going somewhere together to roost for the night.

Climbing Seaford head and looking back over Seaford and across to Newhaven

You have been warned!

The spectacular Seven Sisters with Belle Tout lighthouse on the far right.

We shall be walking across the Seven Sisters later this month with a group of family and friends.
Hopefully the weather will be kind to us.

Male (L) and female (R) Stonechats

Part of the meanders and floodplain of the Cuckmere.
The area is under threat from rising sea levels and so may appear very different in years to come.

The dark area between the two bows is called Alexander's dark band and is caused by the raindrops reflecting the light back inside the rainbow. The light cannot escape to be seen by an observer, so it appears dark. The dark rainfall behind made the rainbow stand out very clearly.

Litlington White Horse is just above the Cuckmere River near Frog Firle.