Discovering Gayles Farm

Walking trail

Stride out on a walk across this iconic landscape, walking in the steps of our ancestors as you discover the fascinating history, wildlife and archaeology of this coastal site. Enjoy far reaching views towards the sea and across the Cuckmere Valley, and the wealth of wildlife that this rare chalk grassland offers.

All our houses, gardens, parks, toilets, cafes, shops and car parks are now closed to further restrict the spread of coronavirus. We urgently request people to stay local and observe social distancing - please do not travel.

Three people walk along the top of the magnificent Seven Sisters cliffs with distant views behind of sea , horizon, Birling Gap coastguard cottages and Belle tout lighthouse


OS map for Gayles Farm walks trail


Crowlink car park (TV549978)


After arriving at Crowlink Car Park walk over the cattle grid and down the concrete track. Walk over another cattle grid and carry on through Crowlink hamlet. At the end of the hamlet go through a gate and enter grassland. Keeping the fence on your right continue on and a little further on go through another gate. Turn right at the dew pond heading up the hill, keeping the fence on the right. Once you reach the top of the hill head towards the sea for 100m. Look for a gap on the hedge in the right, turn into the gap and go through the gate.

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View over dew pond to Crowlink


You have now arrived at Gayles Farm, keep the fence on your right (there will be an electric fence if the Exmoor ponies are grazing. When the electric fence is in place go through the temporary gates keeping the fence on your right).

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Exmoor Ponies Grazing


After a couple of ups and downs over chalk grassland you reach the bottom of the slope, follow path up the hill (heading slightly diagonally towards the sea) and keep the fence on your right. Enjoy the views out to sea on your left and towards Friston Forest on your right.

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Go through the pedestrian gate and this time keep the fence on your left. You enter an arable field through a gate - walk the field margin keeping the fence to your left. As you go through the gate the view opens up with the Cuckmere Valley in front of you. Turn right once you are in the grassland and have the fence on your right.

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Little Egret


After admiring the view follow the fence around the edge of the field until you come to the corner, and then turn right. Keep the fence on your right as the field bends around. Here you will be walking the edge of the RAF Friston airfiled. Go through the wooden pedestrian gate and enter the arable field again.

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Visitors and staff having fun at the Gayles Farm opening celebration event


At the junction of tracks, turn left taking the 2nd track towards the memorial stone with the fence on your left. As the fence line turns to the right you follow it and head towards the stile which is 75m in front off you. Go over the stile and walk towards the sea with the fence on your left. This is part of a permissive footpath that runs from the South Downs Way to Friston Forest. After a while go over the next stile heading straight on towards the sea. Then over another stile turning left to join the South Downs Way. You are now on part of the Seven Sisters Country Park, go up and down Rough Brow.

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Looking towards Belle Tout from Rough Brow


As you continue through gate you re-enter National Trust land, walk down the hill past the site of the coast guard cottages and up the next slope, then at Flagstaff Brow turn inland. Follow the track through the large kissing gate in the fence, over the top of the field and then head back to the car park. And you're back where you started....

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An early 20th century view of the Crowlink Coastguard cottages


Crowlink car park (TV549978)

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Discovering Gayles Farm


An undulating walk, up and down some steep slopes, which can be slippery when wet.  

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.
Discovering Gayles Farm

Contact us

Discovering Gayles Farm

How to get here

Crowlink car park, Crowlink Lane, Friston, East Sussex BN20 0AY
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.  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), £1 for one hour, £2.50 for four hours, £5 for all day.
By foot
On South Downs Way between Exceat and Eastbourne. Crowlink is accessible by foot. There are footpaths from East Dean leading to Crowlink, and it can be accessed from the Seven Sisters Country Park along the South Downs Way.  It can also be reached fromt he north through Friston Forest.
By bus
For Birling Gap: 13X bus. Runs from Eastbourne Terminus Road to Brighton via Birling Gap, Sundays and bank holidays all year. More frequently in summer.
For Crowlink: 12A and 12B bus or 13X, Brighton to Eastbourne (via Seaford). See Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company for timetables.
Discovering Gayles Farm

Facilities and access

  • Toilet block in main car park at Birling Gap
  • Drinking water available outside the toilet block at Birling Gap
  • Birling Gap café is approximately 1.5 miles from the start point
  • The Tiger Inn at East Dean (not NT) is located approximately 0.5 miles from the start point