Walk 20 – Eastbourne to Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne, Sussex
September 2012 and it's a beautiful day. Eastbourne to Sovereign Harbour, East Sussex is to be part 20 of my Kent & Sussex shoreline walks and it promises to be a smasher.
Parking at the western end of King Edward's Parade and passing St Bede's Preparatory School on my right, I dropped down, via steps, onto the wide expanse of beach at Holywell.
To my left and right, the contrast is striking. To my left, looking inland, the green splattered chalk cliffs gently angle down, while to my right, a tall white apartment building breaks the skyline.
Heading east to Eastbourne seafront, the crunchy pebbles soon give way to smooth sand, while further out, seaweed coated mud leaves a long verdant stain.
Immediately, a mass of wooden groynes appear but are easily skirted at low tide, as the horizon flattens forming the white fronted parade that Eastbourne is well known for.
Approaching Eastbourne pier, the soft reflecting sand is made untidy with small rocks bubbling to the surface, but disappear before reaching the millipede legs before me.
I like the pier. It's well worth a visit for a quick coffee and nice to see a part of England's heritage standing proud; not like some along this stretch of coast.
On this lovely summer's day, the shimmering refections are a delight in the wet sand, soon though, to be masked once more by the incoming tide.
Redoubt Fortress, which I forget to photograph, is another reminder of our violent past. A broad stretch takes me past Eastbourne Angling and Rowing Clubs, with the funfair in full swing just a few yards further on.
Sovereign Park now dominates on the left with the beach spotted with craft in varying states of decay. As I approach Sovereign Harbour, the pebbles dominate once more, while the easily recognisable blob of Martello Tower 66 at Langley Point looms large.
At the harbour entrance, modern apartments and shops are the order of the day. Fishermen take advantage of the easy access to bait the shallows but water is still deep enough to allow boats to ebb and flow.
To finish the walk, I spend an enjoyable half hour watching the boats rising and sinking in the locks. A vessel packed with lobster pots looks out of place amongst the shiny, gleaming, pleasure craft. Can't see any lobsters though.
For the length of this hike, there is a walkway at the top of the beach which makes for a very pleasant return in the sun's warming rays. One surprise though. I know it's a weekday but there have been very few people on the shoreline, even in the balmy warmth. I blame the Internet…
On this walk…
- Wide, sandy beach with great spots to explore
- Delightful Victorian pier
- Martello Tower 66
- Working harbour
- Lovely old buildings on return
- Cafés and shops
- OS Explorer map 123 Eastbourne & Beachy Head