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East Sussex Coat of Arms

Sep 2018

Famous chalk cliffs on one of Britain's finest unspoilt coastlines.

East Sussex Coat of Arms

No, this isn't another one banging on about the Mitford Sisters, you know, those between the wars society somebodies, because there were only  six of them, you see.

These ones are the fairly well-known chalk cliffs down on the East Sussex coast although they aren't really seven sisters but more on that in a minute.

They're part of a larger  Country Park with pay and display parking and some lavs laid on for your convenience.

Seven Sisters Country Park

It's about a mile to the main event along the River Cuckmere and through this type of terrain all with  paddleboarding, bird-watching, dog-walking cyclists for company.

 
South Downs Way

The 100-mile, long-distance South Downs Way footpath cuts right through here and if you're walking from Winchester then congratulations, it's only another 8-or-so to go to Eastbourne.

If you're coming from Eastbourne then it's about 92 miles to Winchester and you're going the wrong way, anyway.

Looking west to Seaford Head here after a short, shingle-sapping stretch on the beach. You're thinking that looks like a sandstone strata above the chalk but it's just Neogenic glacial dust deposited by the wind several million years ago, silly.

Seven Sisters - Seaford Head Seven Sisters - Haven Brow

There's no such confusion behind where it's chalk all the way down. The compacted, calcite shells of millions of microorganisms formed on the ocean floor before it was all forced north, naturally.

This pair might not be so old, Cretaceous-wise, but old enough to remember the old-skool blackboard so it's no surprise to find it's as soft as you'd expect.

We're also old enough to remember it's not so soft to not half smart when you take a bullet of it for talking at the back of class. Those were the days, right kids?

A step backwards needs to be taken to make sense of all the fuss and there they are, the Seven Sisters, from left to right - Haven Brow, Short Brow, Rough Brow, Brass Point, Flat Hill, Bailey's Hill and Went Hill.

The Seven Sisters

That means they're not really sisters because, unlike their  Greek namesakes, there's not a single girl in there and Bailey, whoever he was, is bound to be a bloke, probably.

You can get up and over them via the South Downs Way, which thankfully avoids the calf-killing cobbles below. It's only 3 miles atop the lot, 250 foot at the highest point and 1500 foot of total ascent.

Seven Sisters - Cuckmere Haven

When it's said 'only' that's meant in a 'not all the way' kind of way since the clock's being watched on the parking, remember? Besides, there's something nearly 300 foot higher just a little way east at Beachy Head and they'll let you drive up there.

Health and Safety has been reassuringly absent and what they used to call common sense in the olden days prevails. They may, however, have simply decided not to replace any signs to keep away from the edge since that's receding at a rate of around 30cm a year.

Seven Sisters - Haven Brow

If you're on the beach below then yes, some of it might fall on your head, obviously, and if you're that kid from the classroom then no, you don't really need to be told not to  eat it.

There was always one wasn't there and those were the days, right kids?

For that, you can head to Eastbourne and while there was some feigning of knowledge of geology earlier, this is the only rock that's really familiar.

Seaside Rock

None of that minty nonsense, neither, that's an abomination and who isn't a fan of the fruitier flavour?

Spending some time by the seaside in England, this counts as your full five-a-day and is the healthiest thing that'll be eaten this week.