Southease to Newhaven via Peacehaven

I messed up my train journey today, as I missed the first train and the second one to Brighton was either running late or I misread the time when I checked this morning. Anyway, the later train got me there with two minutes to spare, luckily I only had to walk across the platform.

So I am on the train just pulling into Lewes when I noticed that it didn’t stop at Southease, a quick check on my phone confirmed that only alternate trains stop at Southease station. So I waited at Lewes for the next one as I didn’t want to walk in the other direction.

I finally got to the start of the walk crossing the swing bridge and turning left onto the west side of the river, that was slowly going down as the tide was heading out. Instead of cows that I met when travelling in the other direction, sheep were grazing all along the river banks and the meadows to the side, unlike the cattle they do move out of your way.

The next hamlet along the river is Piddinghoe where the path along the river stops briefly, due to the erosion of the river bank. The choices were either to follow a footpath that took me away from the river and then back or walk along the road. I chose the road which it turns out may have been the wrong option no footpath, winding country roads and oncoming traffic.

I was soon back on the river path, past the fishing lake and the Newhaven energy recovery facility, that converts rubbish to electricity. I thought it would smell of burnt refuse, but it wasn’t at all bad only a very light smell of something burning. The electricity cables run under the river before heading out across the Sussex countryside.

The path finally finishes just before the town of Newhaven passing by the old harbour before reaching the main road. I had already decided to walk towards Peacehaven, so I picked up a path that would eventually cross the coast road and wind its way into Peacehaven.

I had an idea to get onto the beach and walk towards Newhaven, however, that was not an option as I soon found out. I had to descend a cliff stairway onto a promenade that soon stopped and getting onto the beach looked pretty precarious, so it was back up the stairs (very steep) and follow the path along the cliffs.

The walk along the cliffs has some beautiful views, even if the path at some locations is very close to the cliff edge. All along this coast, the chalk cliffs are slowly being eroded, only recently there was a large chunk of the cliff face that fell away at Seaford Head.

There are many fortifications along the cliff path on fort hill, from world war two gun emplacements to a Victorian fort, making Newhaven a key military location for many years.

Leaving the cliffs I walked downhill heading towards the car park and the beach. This would bring back many childhood memories, as it was a popular destination for a family day out when I was a child. Although the area has dramatically changed since then, the break water and the harbour beach are now restricted areas, the cafe and the small fun fair are no more.

I do fondly remember fishing on the breakwater firstly as a child for crabs, and then as an adult for anything I could catch, although I cannot remember if that was a lot, maybe the odd mackerel or weever fish. A quick walk along the beach and then around the marina, that has an ugly back drop of a metal recycling depot, then head back to Newhaven Town station and home.

Equipment used:

This is a map of the walk. Update I had GPS issues and some of the route was missing I have now fixed that, so the total route was just over 8 Miles.

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