Kent and Sussex Shoreline Walk

Walk 16 – Cooden Beach Hotel to Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne, Sussex

It is 8am. The grey and murky July morning welcomes me as I pick my way over the tide washed seaweed. Early birds running, walking the dog and digging for lug worm ignore me as my camera emerges from its cocoon.

Part 16 of my Kent & Sussex shoreline walks; Cooden Beach Hotel to Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne, Sussex is under way.

Fleshy tubes

Mud with rocky outcrops, common along this shoreline, are order of the day. They're quite photogenic though, with wigs of green slime. Sporadic pools of water 'boil' in the sand, receding currents breaking through the surface.

Before long I meet a local chap with his faithful black Labrador, pumping for lug worm (him, not the dog). His bucket brims over with the fat, fleshy tubes. We chat about technique and I leave him to it, the dog overseeing his master.

More people appear as I become level with another converted Martello Tower. There were 74 in total from Folkestone, Kent to Seaford, Sussex. Sadly, due to many factors, only 25 still exist.

Bucket loads

While studying seaweed and molluscs in interesting shapes, a kneeling figure in the distance catches my gaze. On closer inspection it's a chap raking the sand. Curious, I venture closer still and engage in polite banter.

Cockles. My tutor explains which ones to look for, size and shape and how to store them. He has two large bucket loads, enough for several months and not a Chinaman in sight.

I started late today and the tide is already flooding over the intertidal zone; the sandy and shingle bit. Groynes are submerged once more as I am forced further from the sand.

Shiny new

Leaving Normans' Bay, so called because it is believed the 1066 Norman invasion landed near here, the village of Beachlands is next, soon followed by the historic Pevensey Bay. Passing one of the five Martello Towers on this stretch, I note that Sovereign Harbour is missing from my OS map. Time for a new one perhaps.

Overlooked by shiny new apartments, I pass a rather sad looking Tower 64. A few more steps and I can go no further, unless I fancy a very muddy harbour swim. You wouldn't want to fall in here.

Returning along the shoreline, a whole new world opens up; wild flowers. OK, some have blown from nearby gardens but many are hardy beach plants, colourful too.

On this walk…