Update 28 March. The weather for this hike is set to be cold, but dry and far less breezy than recently and with a good chance of some brightness. Indeed, perfect for an invigorating Easter walk, but do wrap up warm, as we will be very exposed to the elements on large sections of the hike.
Due to the bracing conditions, I have shortened the hike by around 3 miles and we will now start at Southease station instead of Lewes. The other details remain the same.
I have also booked the 14C Ye Old Smugglers Inn in Alfriston for lunch at around 14:00.
See you all on Sunday!
Note that this hike is on Easter Sunday.
With British Summer Time making a welcome return and our fitness improving in tune with the day length, it's high time to venture back not only to the hills of the South Downs, but also take in a short stretch of the Sussex Coast.
The South Downs became the UK's newest National Park only two years ago - surely a justified step given the stunning views, downland scenery and abundant wildlife. For us hikers, there is the added bonus of some challenging hills.
The plan is to traverse the ridge of hills a few times through the day to take in the sweeping vistas, hangliders and a pub lunch in the picture postcard village of Alfriston. After lunch there will be a change of terrain walking down the Cuckmore valley, before enjoying the famous views of the Seven Sisters. We will end the hike in seaside Seaford, where there are two trains an hour back to London, taking approximately 90 minutes. Those who wish to stay on and socialise are welcome to join me at a suitable establishment, but there is the option to head straight home, but note that it is unlikely that you will get back in London until at least 20:00.
Travel there by train: meet me BEFORE 09:30 outside the main ticket office at Victoria Mainline station ("Ticket Counter" opposite platforms 13-19 on this map: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/sjp/VIC/plan.html). We will catch the 09:47 to Southease via a change of train at Lewes. If making your own way to the start, meet us at Southease station ready to go at 11:09 - you can return there by train from Seaford at the end of the hike.
If, like me, you need a coffee to join the land of the living at this time of the morning, getting a free Bite card gets you 20% off at many station outlets: https://www.bitecard.co.uk/Home
The cost to include the guided and backmarked hike, plus the return train fares is £12. Please pay the hike leader in cash on the train.
The walking pace will be sociable, but the hike is longer than those we have been doing over the Winter and the terrain is moderately hilly and very exposed to the weather, so a reasonable level of fitness and suitable clothing / footwear are required to enjoy the trip.
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