The walking weekend is centred on Eastbourne, which is the UK's sunniest place and just what we need after lockdown. As the tourist information put it “Feel the energy of its endless blue skies, sweeping South Downs countryside, colourful art scene and warm sunshine”. A short break here will leave you feeling re-energised, refreshed and invigorated. However, I think much of that will be down to the walks I’ve prepared. The main walks are on Saturday and Sunday – both walks being a comfortable 17 miles. There is an introductory walk on Friday afternoon and a departing walk on Monday – both of them 15 miles which can be shortened.

Accommodation will need to be obtained in Eastbourne and I’ve arranged the Queens Hotel for that purpose (pictured) It is a Self-Drive hotel and you can book Full Board (£169pp for 3 nights) by calling Alfa Travel on 01257 248048. There are plenty of other Hotels, Guest Houses, B&B’s, Rental Properties, Campsites and a Youth Hostel in the area although it’s nice for us all to be together. It’s completely up to you.

Please contact the holiday organiser – Roy Carter to indicate interest. or 01234 301182

Though Eastbourne is a relatively new town, there is evidence of human occupation in the area from the Stone Age. The town grew as a fashionable tourist resort largely thanks to prominent landowner, William Cavendish, later to become the Duke of Devonshire. Cavendish appointed architect Henry Currey to design a street plan for the town, but not before sending him to Europe to draw inspiration. The resulting mix of architecture is typically Victorian and remains a key feature of Eastbourne. With a seafront consisting largely of Victorian hotels, a pier and a Napoleonic fort and military museum, Eastbourne was developed at the direction of the Duke from 1859 from four separate hamlets. It has a growing population, a broad economic base and is home to companies in a wide range of industries. Theresa May was born in Eastbourne; George Orwell and Eddie Izzard went to school there; and Sir Ernest Shackleton and Tommy Cooper lived in the town. The comedian would say, pressing a tea-bag into the palm of whoever took him home after an evening out, “have a drink on me.”

Walk Itinerary

Friday 27th August @ 1:30pm (?) – Eastbourne Circular – 15 miles (?)
I developed a circular walk around the town visiting the new Sovereign Harbour, Pevensey Castle, Polegate Windmill and Old Town.  I can’t make the walk shorter without traipsing along busy roads and through modern housing estates. However, there are opportunities to return to the seafront by train or by bus when the afternoon or our spirits fade. So I’ve decided to leave it in since we’ll get an overview of the area before the weekend really begins. The starting point is from Eastbourne Pier and the walk length can be shortened.

Saturday 28th August @ 9:30am – The Seven Sisters – 17 miles
Starting from Eastbourne Pier the walk takes the Wealdway onto Beachy Head and follows the South Downs Way to Birling Gap for a morning break. We then continue over the Seven Sisters to lunch at the Cuckmere Inn across Exceat Bridge. We make our return via Westdean through Friston Forest to Eastdean and stop at the Tiger Inn for refreshment. It is but a short meander back into Eastbourne. There are opportunities to cut corners and shorten your walk. 

Sunday 29th August @ 9:30am – Long Man of Wilmington – 17 miles
Catching the 09:18 train, it’s a short stop to Hampden Park (£3). We walk through pleasant suburbs up to Jevington for a morning break. Then we cross the Downs into Litlington and follow the Cuckmere River to the very picturesque village of Alfriston for lunch. From here we return along the Wealdway around the foot of The Long Man of Wilmington back towards Jevington again for an afternoon break at the Eight Bells. Again it is but a short meander back into Eastbourne along different paths through Hampden Park and passing the Old Town if we missed it on Friday. There are opportunities to cut corners and shorten your walk.

Monday 30th August @ 10:00am – Firle Beacon – 15 miles
The walk starts from the car park in Glynde, close to the railway station. We walk out to cross the A27 into Firle and then ascend to the Beacon for a morning break. From here we return along the top of the escarpment on the South Downs Way and descend to Southease Station and cross the river Ouse. From here we follow the river Ouse floodplain into the town of Lewes for lunch and we’re almost done. Just one hill to go, up to Caburn fort and then to descend into Glynde ready for the homeward journey.