Having had the idea that a beautiful day on 13th June 2012 in East Sussex would be best spent having a stroll over the Seven Sisters it slowly turned into an extended hike from West Dean along part of the South Downs Way, over the Seven Sisters to Birling Gap, then back along the shore under the cliffs to the mouth of the Cuckmere River and from there via Exceat back to West Dean. What a fantastic stroll it was! Some of the views are breathtaking and the photographic efforts do not do justice to the experience in real life, especially when standing under the White Cliffs in the heat of the afternoon sun.
Signpost in West Dean pointing in the direction of Cuckmere Haven, ..... It must be that way then
A bit of stair climbing to start with, just to warm up the legs of course
First veiw of the Cuckmere Valley once at the top of the climb and through the short woodland stretch. No wonder they also call it the Snake River
Looking to your right over the Downs you can just see the horse carved out of the white chalk cliffs in the middle of the picture
A better view of the horse snapped from the road alongside Friston Forest earlier in the day, wonder what sort of view the hang glider pilot is getting?
A couple of views of the fantastic Downs countryside while heading in the direction of Haven Brow, the first of the group at the Cuckmere end.
With views across open countryside like this who in their right mind would want to sit on a crowded beach in a foreign holiday resort? The nearest tree without shelter from the wind has no branches on the windward side. Other examples were later found in the Cuckmere valley.
Looking from the top of Haven Brow across the mouth of the Cuckmere toward Seaford. An amazing feeling to stand there on top of the cliff.
And a wider angled shot from the same place
Looking the other way over the others in the group, past Birling Gap and on toward Beachy Head. The old Belle Toute Lighthouse can be clearly seen at the top of the hill.
Overlooking Went Hill and a group of foreign students heading for refreshments at Birling Gap, (caught them up at the visitor centre and they were Czech students). Taken from Baileys Hill it looks as if the shot is taken while floating in mid air. Belle Toute Lighthouse, the original lighthouse at Beachy Head, though no longer a navigation aid continues to keep its vigil from the top of the cliffs.
The tide is out, and the view along the shore back to the Cuckmere looks very inviting in this shot from the top of the beach access gantry at Birling Gap visitor centre
Just a short way along the shore from Birling Gap, decision made, along the shore under the cliffs it is
A long shot towards the cliffs at Seaford on the otherside of the mouth of the Cuckmere, on the right can be seen Haven Brow at the end, then Short Brow, Rough Brow, Brass Point and half of Flat Hill
Laying there in the shingle, a section of brickwork that could once have been part of a manhole or just as easily something else. What ever it was it would have high up on the cliff and not down here where the tide washes it twice a day.
A shot back towards Birling Gap showing the gantry giving access to the beach, The coastguard Cottages that with evey year that goes by get closer to the cliff edge, people enjoying the sun on the beach and behind them the first of the cliffs on the way to Beachy Head and untimately Eastbourne
Standing under the cliffs really is a humbling experience. The black lines along the cliff surface are made by layers of flint.
Half a coconut amongst a bit of seaweed. Just one of the odd things that can turn up on a tidal shore
A flaw in the wall of the cliff
Close up there is a giant hole in the cliff weeping sand, will it become a cave once the sand is washed out?
Rough Brow nearest camera, Short Brow and Haven Brow with the cliffs of Seaford in the distance. The larger stones covered in weed and lichen will make for interesting walking. The green at the foot of the cliffs gives away the usual high water level.
An interesting corner, below the high water mark and under an overhanging cliff, Perhaps not the best place to stop for a coffee.
With a longer lens it doesn't look as if its that far from Birling Gap.
Inside a cave at the bottom of the cliffs.
The cave is the dark hole just over a third of the way along at the base of the cliff.
Molluscs eating their was into the cliffs.
This is an interesting part of the cliff, just look at the circular formation at the bottom of the cliff, there is a face staring back at you
An archway in an outcrop near the Cuckmere River
Approaching Haven Brow with the former coastguard cottages on the Seaford side of the river mouth visible in the bottom left of the picture. Still walking below the high water mark the two people stood on top of the cliff really put the scale of these cliffs into proportion.
In the Cuckmere valley heading for Exceat, then just a short climb up the pasture past the Seven Sisters visitor centre and then back down the steps where the walk started. A really fantastic and enjoyable day.
A final image, two more trees sculptured by the wind so the branches only grow on one side.