17th October 2015
Brighton to Seaford – 23.3km (14.5 miles)
……..and the trek goes on……..!
Originally the idea of the pier to pier trek was to be from Bournemouth to Brighton, but now I’ve got to Brighton I’ve thought why stop here when England has such beautiful and varied coastline, so let’s carry on and take one pier at a time.
Brighton Pier this morning is not yet as busy with tourists as it was when I finished the last leg but seems to be more joggers and fitness walkers. From the pier I head east with cookie along Madeira Drive, the lower road that runs alongside Volks railway. A railway that is the longest running in the world since 1883.
The promenade along here houses the Brighton wheel and lots of recreational and sports facilities. At the furthest end towards the east of the promenade there is an area set aside for naturists.
As the promenade ends the pebbly beaches give way to tall white cliffs that have a marina built in front of them. The marina has been here since 1978 and following development over the years now contains 1600 berths, residential properties, retail outlets, restaurants, bars, bowling alley, cinema and gym
The marina is sheltered from the land by some very high chalk cliffs at the base of which has a long concrete path, that goes all the way to Saltdean. Which you would think would be the easiest part, but this bit I struggled with the most during the day as the sun was really warm and the path very long and unchanging.
The concrete path continued a little way past Saltdean but did not go anywhere and stopped at a large outcrop of chalk cliff. The walk from here is now to be along the top of the cliffs which is changing the whole scenery of the day. Lunch was had on a windy bench just outside Saltdean after tackling the first significant hill, i think that must have sapped my energy.
After lunch the trek took me along the top of the cliffs from Saldean to Peacehaven mainly past residential properties, however at Peacehaven we were to achieve another massive milestone and that was to cross from the worlds western hemisphere to the eastern hemisphere as we passed by 0 deg longitude or the ‘Greenwich Meridian’, a memorial marks the exact spot of the 0 deg line.
After walking past a few more streets of houses we were on to Peacehaven & Harbour Heights an open expanse of land between here and Newhaven, this would be the remotest that we would get today and quite nice to get away from urbanisation. Cookie was put back on the lead as there was quite a cliff drop here. At the top of Harbour Heights was a coastguard lookout and Newhaven Fort, you can understand why they are both here as it is such a vantage point looking out to sea and protecting the harbour. The fort has been overlooking the area since 1871 when it was built and was the largest fortification built in Sussex, it is now a museum open to the public.
As we descend down from the fort we enter into Newhaven a harbour town with a cross channel ferry port and back to flat walking for the rest of the day. We follow the River Ouse up to the swing bridge as this is the only crossing point and back down the other side to the coast again. As we leave the estuary some large ships are coming in to harbour, from where we are standing it looks like they are travelling across the land as we can’t quite see the river.
It was a pebbly walk from here for a few kilometres until we reached the foreshore and promenade of Seaford. Seaford like Bognor Regis used to have a sandy beach but pebbles were dredged up and put on the beach for sea defences, every year these stones are moved eastwards along the coast by the tide and it’s currents, so they have to be picked up and put back by the most gigantic trucks. It’ll be a never ending job as nature will always get it’s way.
We walked along the promenade at Seaford and was to finish our day at the Martello Tower. These towers were built to protect our coastline during the Napoleonic war and this was the most westerly tower that was built. It now houses a museum.