Walking

Walking trail

Cliff Top Walk from Birling Gap to Exceat

Walking trail

Experience iconic clifftop views of the Seven sisters coastline and discover the history of this walk to Exceat and the Seven Sisters Country Park.

A view from flag staff looking back towards Belle Tout

Map

Map of the route

Start:

Birling Gap

1

Starting at the Birling Gap Café, walk along the side of the building, go up the few steps and turn left at the private road, heading uphill along the South Downs Way. At the top of the road turn left through the gate that has a signpost for the South Downs Way. You are now walking over Went Hill, the first of the Seven Sisters, go through another gate

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A view of Birling Gap

2

Following the path now bearing slightly right, walk up the next hill, where you will pass the Robertson memorial stone. At the top of the hill, Bailey’s Brow, look out for humps and hollows in the landscape around you, including the three ancient tumuli on Bailey’s Hill. Continue straight on, following undulating downland over Flat Brow. Due to the erosion experienced on this coast line could this become the ‘eighth sister’?

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Brass point in the distance

3

At the top of the next hill, Flagstaff, a Sarsen’s Stone commemorates the purchase of Crowlink for the benefit of the public. In 1927 Arthur Beckett and Colonel Mathias of the Sussex Downsmen saved the area from a building syndicate by raising funds buy the land.

A view from flag staff looking back towards Belle Tout

4

As you look out to sea it is easy to imagine the many ships that have been wrecked along this part of the coast line during the centuries. From Brass Point down into Crowlink it is possible to see the remains of the 633 ton Coonatto on the beach at low tide, the ship run aground at Crowlink Gap in 1876 and luckily most of the crew and cargo were recovered.

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The coonatto is being surveyed by volunteer archaeologists

5

Haven Brow is the last of the Seven Sisters hills, from here the path heads right then gradually left down the side of the steep river cliff. Once you reach the concrete path at the Seven Sisters Country Park you can either turn left for the beach or right along the track towards the A259.

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The Cuckmere at sun set

6

Two Second World War pill boxes can be seen in the Cuckmere Valley. One is visible on Exceat Hill, just to the left of the path amongst small trees nearing the end of the walk. You will then reach the A259 road at Exceat where there is a visitor centre, tea room and toilet facilities. From here you will be able to catch the 13x bus back to Birling Gap or the 12 to East Dean.

End:

Exceat, Seven Sisters Country Park

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Cliff Top Walk from Birling Gap to Exceat

Terrain

Some slopes, steps and uneven terrain. The Sisters are fairly steep hills.

Well-behaved dogs on leads are always welcome.

At certain times of year there will be stock grazing so electric fences with access gates may be found across the route

Cliff Top Walk from Birling Gap to Exceat

Contact us

Cliff Top Walk from Birling Gap to Exceat

How to get here

Address
Birling Gap, East Dean, near Eastbourne, BN20 0AB
By train

Eastbourne station 5.5 miles (9km) ; Seaford station 6.5 miles (10.5km).

By road

5 miles (8km) west of Eastbourne and 6 miles east of Seaford. Birling Gap car park is sign-posted from A259 at East Dean, between Seaford and Eastbourne. Crowlink car park, near East Dean, is accessed from A259 using the lane between Friston Pond and Church, opposite the sign to Jevington. Parking: at Birling Gap (pay and display), £5 for the day.

By foot

On South Downs Way between Exeat and Eastbourne. Birling Gap is accessible by foot and forms part of the Seven Sisters route. Footpaths from East Dean across Crowlink down to Birling Gap Walk on grass verge or path along Gilberts Drive/ Birling Gap Road – follow brown tourist signs from East Dean.

By bus

For Birling Gap: 13X bus. Runs hourly Eastbourne Terminus Road to Brighton via Birling Gap, on Sundays during the winterr. Daily from June to September. The 12x runs to East Dean and Exceat. Check the Brighton and Hove Buses webs#Busite for more details.

By bicycle

Network of bridle paths with cycle stands available at Birling Gap. Went Way bridleway from East Dean to Birling Gap.

Cliff Top Walk from Birling Gap to Exceat

Facilities and access

  • Toilet facilites at Birling Gap and Exceat
  • Drinking water at Birling Gap and Exceat
  • Parking availiable at Birling Gap