Walk 2 – Birling Gap to Eastbourne, Sussex
Making the most of the unseasonably warm but windy weather, I decided to visit Birling Gap once again but this time to walk east to Eastbourne, Sussex along the foreshore.
It was just before midday in early January and surprisingly few visitors. The tide was slowly retreating back to France while the north easterly winds whipped up large, frothy breakers for a few hardy surfers.
The walk started easily enough on large flint pebbles but soon gave way to large chalk boulders – some new from recent rock falls, others worn smooth with time.
Just before the distinctive red and white pepper pot of Eastbourne lighthouse, rusting car parts lay lonely amongst the sea of calcite. I'd heard stories of cars either being driven or pushed over the Sisters but never expected to find the rotting remains.
At the lighthouse, a mosaic of smashed timber and flotsam nestled against the cliff edge, whilst the tide was just not far enough out to climb the base of the sailor's beacon. A nice spot for cliff gazing and coffee in the sunshine.
Mud covered chalk made a slippery path past the lighthouse on my way to a pretty, sandy beach, Falling Sands. On route, a car engine and a long metal tube which looks like a small ships funnel, litter the shore.
At Falling Sands, people are exploring and taking in the stunning view, having gained access to the shore via steps either at Cow Gap or just before Holywell.
As the sun drops for an early bath, I passed Cow Gap as the cliffs meander gently down and left the shore at the next exit a short distance before the town. Passing a school on my left, I followed the cliff top path to Whitebread Hole eventually climbing steeply to join the South Downs Way for the return to Birling Gap.
The setting amber sun sparkling on the calm brine, finished off a lovely New Year walk.
On this walk…
- NOTE: Check the tide times first before attempting this walk
Tide timetables are available from fishing tackle shops and other outlets
- Keep away from the base of the cliffs to avoid rockfalls
- The beach is littered with large, slippery, boulders making the going tough in places
- Avoid the cliff edge on the return. The edges are very unstable
- OS Explorer map 123 Eastbourne & Beachy Head