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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 23rd to Sunday 24th September 2006 
Eastbourne to Lewes.
24 miles
My brother Simon expressed a wish to come out for a walk with me along the South Downs Way. Before he could change his mind I had booked 2 beds at Alfriston Youth Hostel and planned a weekends walk from Eastbourne to Lewes. 
Simon had never walked this stretch of the downs before and so he was totally bowled over by the wow factor associated with the Beachy Head/Seven Sisters walk. He also brought an amazing piece of beginners luck to the bird watching side of the weekend. Before we even reached Belle Tout lighthouse we had seen a wryneck, a honey buzzard, a sparrowhawk and a hobby. 
We set off from Eastbourne and joined the SDW at 9.15am on Saturday. The weather was hot all day and when we reached Alfriston YHA 12 miles and 7 hours later, we were in urgent need of a hot shower and plenty of food. We were able to relax in the hostels garden in the evening and drink the contents of my hip flask.
The next day we walked as far as Southease on the SDW and then headed north along the River Ouse to Lewes. We just had time to chuck down a pint before getting the train home at 5pm.

Starting from Eastbourne station we headed through the town, stopping only for emergency coffee and croissants! 
We were doing it the tough way!

Simon, after recovering from the first climb.

Coming down to the first major stop, Birling Gap.

The seven sisters with Seaford Head in the distance.

From the Seven Sisters looking back to the Belle Tout Lighthouse.

Then down into Cuckmere Haven.

Simon attempts to blend into the background. 

Climbing up above Exceat gives a good view of the meanders of the River Cuckmere. 

Next we had to walk through Friston Forest, which was just as well as it was getting very hot and we were glad to get into the shade.

We found a Robin's pincushion. This is a type of gall on a dog rose caused by the larvae of the gall wasp Diplolepsis rosae which lives in the centre.

At last we made it to the youth hostel. We were neither members nor youthful but they still let us stay.

First port of call the next morning was Alfriston village.

Alfriston church of St Andrew is known as the cathedral of the downs. It is set in a fantastic location inside a bend in the river.

Then we were back up onto the downs for a long walk over Bostal Hill, Firle Beacon and then onto these communications masts. 

The compound that held the masts was well locked up!

When we came back down off the downs at Itford, we found that instead of having to negotiate a busy road, there was now a purpose made bridge that was opened on August 4th 2006.

Then we had to turn off of the SDW and head north along the Ouse to Lewes.

At the end of the walk there is some graffiti that must have been aimed at us, although we didn't really understand what it meant! 
Who does!?

The closest pub to the station was a good one, but we were too tired to get its name.