Walk 9: Exceat to Eastbourne – 8 miles

The iconic Seven Sisters stretch eastwards towards Beachy Head - click to enlarge
The iconic Seven Sisters carry the SDW eastwards towards Beachy Head – click to enlarge

The Seven Sisters are an exhilerating switchback – particularly on a windy day.  We deliberately kept this section short so we could enjoy their charms – and the several opportunities to take sustenance at the start, middle and end of the walk.

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Cuckmere Haven viewed from the SDW – click to enlarge

The walks starts at  the Seven Sisters Country Park visitors centre (for parking etc see here) To begin with,  the SDW makes its way seaward, almost to the mouth of the Cuckmere River but then slants upwards onto the flanks of the first of the Seven Sisters.

Clinging on for dear life on a very windy Seven Sister
Clinging on for dear life on a very windy Seven Sister

From here on it parallels the cliff edge mostly all the way to Eastbourne, swooping up and down the steep undulations.

At Birling Gap the National Trust café provides welcome refreshment.  And then you are soon skirting round the Belle Tout lighthouse and catching sight of the red and white striped Beachy Head light tower  below the cliffs which give it its name – and mark the end of the South Downs with some finality.

Beachy Head Lighthouse ahoy
Beachy Head Lighthouse ahoy

The official end of the SDW is a rather more sedate kiosk at the foot of the hill in suburban Eastbourne.  Winchester is a 100 miles and nine very pleasant walks behind you. Time for a celebratory cream tea in the Miss Marplish surroundings of the nearby Hydro Hotel.

We walked 100 miles for this tea at the Hydro - click to enlarge
We walked 100 miles for this strawberry cream tea at the Hydro – click to enlarge

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