East Sussex Part 2: Walking the Downs

By Sally Pudney on 12th October 2015

From Rodmell village it is quite a short – though very steep!- walk up onto the South Down, and the bridle path joins at a sort of T-junction with the South Downs Way.

Here I am on the South Downs Way - note the sign behind me!

Here I am on the South Downs Way – note the sign behind me!

A slightly misty early morning cleared to beautiful sunshine, and I walked, and drew and took lots of photos.

A sketch looking west from the downs above Rodmell

A sketch looking west from the Downs above Rodmell

I liked the interesting diagonals in this view looking north from the downs above Rodmell

I liked the interesting diagonals in this view looking north from the downs above Rodmell

Later that day I did a circular walk that takes in part of the South Downs Way – down through Rodmell Village, out across the water meadows until I reached the river Ouse, then right – South – along the bank of the Ouse until I reached Southease, where I stopped to look at and draw the church with its unusual Saxon round tower, and then across a field path back to the main Lewes-Newhaven road near the Rodmell crossroads. The young woman in the shop at Monks House told me about this walk, and I really enjoyed it. It takes about one and a quarter hours.

The bridle path across the Ouse water meadows

The bridle path across the Ouse water meadows

The river Ouse and Mount Caburn

The river Ouse and Mount Caburn

The lovely church at Southease

The lovely church at Southease

. . . and my very quick drawing of it!

. . . and my very quick drawing of it!

The South Downs Way begins (or ends??) just to the west of Eastbourne, with the cliffs of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters down to Birling Gap. Later in the week I did two walks here on two separate days.

Firstly, I walked up to Beachy Head from the Eastbourne side, almost as far as the Belle Tout (disused) lighthouse. Very scary cliffs, and it was AMAZINGLY windy – I really could not stand up at one point, but had to crouch down to stop myself being blown over!!! But I did get a few photos of the iconic striped lighthouse.

Beachy Head Lighthouse

Beachy Head Lighthouse

Belle Tout lighthouse on the cliff edge, looking towards Birling Gap

and Belle Tout lighthouse on the cliff edge, looking towards Birling Gap

The following day I started off at Birling Gap, where there is a useful National Trust café, and visitors centre, and steps on a sort of scaffold tower arrangement down the cliff to the beach. I loved the beach here, lots of interesting stones, and the sheer face of the first of the Seven Sisters rearing up behind, and a wonderful quality of light.

On the beach at Birling Gap

On the beach at Birling Gap

The first of the Seven Sisters - or the last, maybe?

The first of the Seven Sisters – or the last, maybe?

Needless to say, I collected all sorts of interesting stuff on the beach

Needless to say, I collected all sorts of interesting stuff on the beach

Treasure from Birling Gap

Treasure from Birling Gap

Then, after some lunch at the NT café – see above! – I walked to Beachy Head from the other direction, stopping to draw the view of the Seven Sisters as I went.

Rodmell & East Sussex 2 004

I walked on, up past Belle Tout, and down towards Beachy Head from the other side.

Look carefully and you can see people worryingly close to the top edge of the cliff!

Look carefully and you can see people worryingly close to the top edge of the cliff!

There were lovely views all the way back down to Birling Gap.

Rodmell & East Sussex 259

And by the time I got back I was more than ready to go back into the café for a cup of tea and a sit down!

Rodmell & East Sussex 281Tomorrow, Part 3: Charleston Farmhouse, Berwick and Firle

Hope your week has got off to a good start.:)


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