BBN Holiday to Eastbourne - 27th-30th August 2021

Leader: Roy Carter

This year’s BBN holiday weekend in August was enjoyed by 13 LDWA members who booked into the Queens hotel opposite the pier in Eastbourne. It was as advertised, the UK's sunniest place and just what we needed after 18 months of restricted lifestyle in eating, drinking and socialising together. There were interesting pubs and cosy cafes in picturesque villages, sunshine and ice cream on the cliffs and refreshments by castle ruins. All walks over the 4 days had distance, interesting locations, changes in route where necessary and enjoyable struggles in getting back for an evening meal at 6pm.  

Friday afternoon we walked through Sovereign Harbour, Europe’s largest marina complex boasting 4 linked harbours and onto Pevensey Castle for a welcomed break before returning back to Eastbourne. It had an unscheduled train ride and laughter at the ticket machine to get back in time for dinner.
Saturday involved walking up onto Beachy Head and down to Birling Gap where we had an impromptu fly-by from 2 Spitfires. Then along the Seven Sisters on a lovely sunny morning to reach the Cuckmere Inn for lunch. We stopped to identify each sister plus the new one. The return was through West and East Dean and a quick stop at the Tiger Inn before coming back down through Eastbourne to the pier.

Sunday saw us walk to Alfriston where a dog show and village fete were taking place. We captured the attention of a local 80 year old accordion player who just knew our group would jig and sing along to his music and of course we obliged. The return passed the Long Man of Wilmington and most of the group were suitably impressed with the exception of one, who confused the figure with the appendages offered on the Cerne Giant. No such disappointment in the evening when twisting to a Beatles tribute band on the seafront with fireworks that followed afterwards.

Monday we met at Glynde station to walk up onto Firle Beacon and along the South Downs escarpment to Southease for lunch at the YHA there. Then alongside the River Ouse to Lewes where some departed by train to Glynde and others stopped for coffee before walking back to Glynde and home.

There were lots more memorable moments and I thank everyone for making it such a perfect holiday atmosphere at the seaside.

Roy Carter

Photos from the trip: Lots of photos from Lizzie and Sarah - keep scrolling down!

Photos from Lizzie Bridge:

Day 1 of Roy’s walking weekend from Eastbourne. Lovely afternoon walk to Pevensey Castle. With an added short train ride to speed us on our way back for the evening meal.


Day 2.and another beautiful blue sky day of walking. The Seven Sisters, plus many more ups and downs, really testing our legs today. 

Day 3 Thanks Roy, for another fabulous day of walking, visiting historic Alfriston - where we were serenaded by an accordion player, at their annual village fete.
Then onwards to see The Long Man of Wilmington, resulting in a hilarious conversation, an LDWA re-enactment and Sarah left wanting a refund! 

Day 4 A few more photos, from the final day, of Roy's fabulous weekend in Eastbourne. Starting from Glynde, we walked to the top of Firle Beacon, then onto the South Downs Way, where Jill spotted some gorgeous, tiny Lady's tresses orchids. Then we followed the river Ouse, into Lewes, for coffee and cake, and finally across meadow flower hillsides back to Glynde.

A huge thank you to Roy, for organising such an enjoyable and interesting walking weekend. It was great fun, with lovely company. Here's looking forward to the next one 
And from Sarah Feal:
A big thank you to Roy Carter for organising and leading the walking weekend to the UK’s sunniest place leaving us feeling re-energised, refreshed and invigorated







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.