Day 017: Exceat to Hove

Distance: 18.53 miles

Ascent: 4315 feet

Weather: SUnny & Windy

Accommodation: Dad's Flat (Building Site), Brighton


I left The Saltmarsh in Exceat a little later than usual to ensure that the storm had passed before I set off. The beginning of the day was a gentle, flat stroll along the other side of the Cuckmere River and out to the coastguard cottages. The view of the Seven Sisters rising above these coastguard cottages is an iconic one that most people would have seen as the image has been used for many things.

A short distance later whilst I was still on the cliffs, I saw what at first, I thought was a statue on the exposed low tide rocks, but then noticed it was a photographer trying to get the perfect angle of shot for the Seven Sisters. He was being a complete idiot as the tide was coming in, the waves were large, and one wrong move could have put him in serious trouble.

The path continued up Hope Gap, where there were literally hundreds of rabbits scampering across and around the path. They were so numerous because the soft sand around that area is perfect for burrowing animals

After skirting Seaford the path reached Newhaven, where the harbour came into few, and the path heads inland a short way to cross the harbour/River Ouse. As I was passing the harbour the cross-channel ferry was just heading of on its way to Dieppe.  I followed the harbour back to the coast, where I saw the Newhaven Fort, one of the 72 Palmerston Forts that were built due to the perceived threat of attack from the French around the 1850’s.

The next part of the walk was more scenic than I expected/remembered following the gently rolling cliffs towards Peacehaven, and continuing onto Telscombe.  At Peacehaven there was a monument that baffled me as it apparently marks a point on the Greenwich Meridian but also a memorial to King George V, and it seemed strange to twin these two into one monument and the location itself seemed strange. It turns out this was built by the person who created the development of Peacehaven and he was always looking for ways of getting the new development in the news and the Greenwich Meridian was a good tagline for the development and as King George V had just died he could get more press by making it a memorial to him as well.

At Saltdean I dropped down onto the undercliff pass, which as it was near high tide was being battered by the powerful waves. Just around the corner I came to Rottingdean, where Graham (a friend of my dad’s) and to my surprise my Uncle Trevor were sat at a café waiting for me. I stopped for a quick bite to eat, and then the three of us set of alongside Flossy the dog for the last part of the day.

It was really nice walking along the undercliff pass for the 3 miles or so, as the sun was out, we were sheltered from the wind, the waves were pounding against the sea defences and also catching up with Trevor and Graham. The undercliff pass finishes just after Brighton Marina, where we joined the promenade.

The promenade alongside Madeira Drive is looking quite tired. The Madeira Terrace arches, quite an iconic part of Brighton, have been left to degrade so far that they have had to be fenced of as they are dangerous. There is a plan to refurbish them, so far they have crowdfunded enough (about £400,000) to fix 3 of the arches but there are dozens more and they estimate the whole project will cost more than £20million pounds. This should be an absolute priority for the Brighton council! It was also quite sad to see that they had completely changed the design of the Volks Electric Railway, which used to have some beautiful, traditional stations, which are now very modern, box like, black structures. I understand why they have done it, as it will be cheaper to maintain, and some tourists may prefer this new modern look, but it would be a shame for Brighton to slowly lose all its traditional features.

The last bit of the walk took us passed the hustle and bustle of the lower promenade passing the Palace Pier, West Pier and all the beach bars, shops and the new i360 tower (which appeared not to be working on the day I walked through possibly due to the winds). We finished at the end of the lawns where my Dad was waiting.

As I was in Brighton, I quickly sorted a couple of bits out, headed to Decathlon to get free replacement belt for the one that snapped couple of weeks ago, and also got a new memory card for camera as the old one had got corrupted couple of days previously.

In the evening my Dad had arranged a little dinner with a few people: Claude (brother), Emily (brother’s wife), little Arthur (nephew), Trevor (uncle), Amanda (auntie), Sara (half-sister), Ian (Sara’s husband). It was really nice to  catch up with everyone, the only downside is having to manically do some admin this morning.

All in all, a good day, with good weather, good views and good to be joined by other people. It marked the return to my hometown as well as the passing of the three hundredth mile. 

charles compton