Seven Sisters 13 mile coastal hike

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Seven Sisters cliffs

 

Seaford to Eastbourne

The Seven Sisters are 7 famous chalk cliffs which form a part of the South Downs of the East Sussex coastline. The cliffs were formed millions of years ago and are now the nesting sites of kittiwakes and fulmars.

Chris and I recently had a weekend in Sussex and spent an energetic Sunday afternoon walking for 13 miles along this coastline which meant climbing up and down these 7 cliffs… and a few more on either side…

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Looking back towards Seaford

We had pre-booked accommodation in Eastbourne however as we arrived during the morning and it was too early to check in, we parked the car along the seafront of Eastbourne, walked to the pier and got on the coastal bus to Seaford. Buses run every 15 to 20 minutes even on Sundays and the fare for a single ticket was £3.50 each.

We were not sure where within Seaford to disembark the bus so when it started to drive through the town and then out of the other side, we quickly pressed the ‘stop’ bell before we ended up in the next town and adding more miles to our walk!

We began our walk at lunchtime (at around 1:30 pm) and had a quick stop in a park cafe for an ice cream and a cold drink.

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Soft and wide grassy paths to walk on

We headed east from Seaford, (a small and fairly non-descript little town) and just past the car park we started to climb the first cliff. The path was wide and grassy which was remained the same for almost all of the 13 miles which were to follow. This gave us a pleasant and soft under foot experience, unlike many of our past hiking terrains!

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Before long we came to Cuckmere Haven and the Cuckmere River which cut across our path!

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Thankfully the tide was out meaning we could remove our walking boots, roll up our trousers and paddle across the river. This isn’t possible during high tide which means you have to follow the river by walking inland to a bridge and back down the other side of the river.

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After a walk across the shingle beach (complete with sea kale growing randomly) we came to the first ‘sister’. Thankfully the cliffs are not actually too steep and we followed the undulating path up and down the rest of the sisters.

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We were fortunate with perfect sunny weather conditions of around 23 degrees and not too much wind. The path is popular with lots of others walking along the cliff tops.

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Soft grass = boot and sock removal for Chris

The cliffs are crumbly and unstable are constantly receding. They are lined with visitor notices asking people not to go too close to the edge.

Towards the end of the ‘Sisters we came across a large seafront cafe at Birling Gap which gave us a welcome pit stop!

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Seven Sisters in the distance

From the Seven Sisters we continued onwards towards Easbourne, leaving the sisters behind in the distance!

Next up was Beachy Head, the highest sea chalk cliff in Britain. Of course, we couldn’t see the actual cliff face as we were walking on the top of it! Unfortunately these majestic cliffs are a notorious suicide spot with approximately 20 deaths each year.

There is a large pub at Beachy Head, another opportunity for a pit stop!

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After another 20 minutes or so, our final destination, Eastbourne, came into view.

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Never ending promenade…

Once we arrived in Eastbourne we upped our speed, pleased we had covered most of the distance and eager to get back for a bite to eat. However, this promenade seemed to go on forever…

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Eastbourne Pier

Eventually we reached the pier at around 6:45 pm and quickly made our way to check-in at our bed & breakfast before it closed at 7 pm!

 

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Vineyard

You can make a day hiking the Seven Sisters into a weekend… during the previous day Chris and I had done a ‘Wine Tasting and Cream Tea’ experience at a nearby vineyard!

 

 

 

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