Seascapes and saltmarsh
Enjoy a walk with far reaching views to the sea, over the downs and northwards towards the Weald. Smell the salty tang of the air and listen to the cries of seabirds as you discover this unspoilt spot.
South Hill Barn car park
From South Hill Barn car park, follow the central track past the gate and straight on down the hill along the middle track. Make your way towards the cattle grid and enjoy the emerging views of the Seven Sisters in the distance.
At the cattle grid turn right and follow the path towards the sea. At the bottom you will find steps down to Hope Gap, one of only four access points to the beach between Seaford and Eastbourne. Turn left and head up the (steep but short hill). Follow the path towards the historic Coastguard Cottages.
Pass the coastguard cottages and follow the path down to the beach. Walk along the top of the shingle bank towards the river bank and follow the path along the top of the bank as it turns and follows the river upstream.
Life in strange places
Notice the unusual plants on the marshes which have adapted to survive the toughest conditions - salt, twice-daily flooding, and biting winds. Sea purslane coats the river banks with its soft silver-green leaves, while glasswort shimmers like red and green glass cacti. In the even less hospitable shingle by the beach, yellow horned poppies thrive, together with sea kale - you can't miss its huge frilly purple leaves.
Continue along the top of the river bank and follow as it turns left. This will take you along a narrow section surrounded on both sides by scrub. When you reach the next junction take the gate on the left.
Wildlife on the wing
In winter, you can see a huge variety of birds feeding on the marsh. Look out for little egrets - elegant pure white birds, resembling a heron but smaller. In summer the most dramatic airborne activity comes from brilliantly coloured dragonflies and damselflies.
Follow the path along the valley edge until you reach the stile in the fence on the right. Go over the stile and walk up the steep hill. The large patch of trees on your right is known locally as Harry’s bush. Take a chance to pause halfway up the hill and enjoy the views across the valley to the Seven Sisters Country Park and beyond to Friston forest and north towards High & Over. Bearing right continue up the hill and aim for the narrow gap in the scrub at the top.
Battle of the tides
The floodplain below is a mixture of both natural and man-made features. The river meanders were cut off in 1846 to form a canal. The straight drainage ditches were dug by farmers to improve the pasture for cattle grazing. At the river mouth is a shingle bank, created to prevent flooding of low-lying fields.
Pass through the narrow gap in the scrub and turn left. Keeping the line of scrub on your right skirt along the top of the field heading for the stile in the corner.
South Hill Barn car park
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