Hiking season is back on! This unusually warm weather got me out of the house, so I decided to verify if the Seven Sisters walk is actually as amazing as the internet says (it actually ranks as one of the best bits of coastal walking in England). Being new in this country is both scary and exciting. So I joined a fantastic group, Trota-Uk, with friendly and opened people and they usually organize hikes all over the UK.
Who are the sisters?
The Seven Sisters is a series of chalk cliffs, situated near the English Channel. They are between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne, part of the South Downs National Park. Each cliff has a different name; the legend says there were 7 sisters and each had a house between the hills.
The walk starts at Seaford, the trail is 22 km long, but it’s not hard at all to finish it (even if you are as fit as a grandma). Bring some water and snacks with you, but don’t drink too much because there will only be one toilet on the way to Eastbourne: at Birling Gap. If you decide to take this walk on a sunny day, come prepared with sun cream and a hat, because otherwise: sunburn!
As you enter the Seaford Head Nature Reserve, climb the head and then you can see the sisters from afar. Beware of the warning signs and try to keep five meters distance from the edge of the cliffs at all times. The cliffs are unstable and they can crumble at any moment.
Follow the hills up and down and you’ll get to the Cuckmere River. If you’re lucky and it’s low tide you can shorten your trail with a few kilometers by crossing the river. So get your feet wet and have a free foot massage by walking on these gorgeous pebbles! If you don’t feel courageous enough, don’t worry, there’s another option by going inland.
Have you dried your feet? Then let’s resume our journey through the chalky cliffs, the grassy paths and the many many peaceful sheep.
The next stop is at Birling Gap where you can have a well-deserved break for lunch and toilet or you can refresh yourself with a British pint! Because it was such an amazing weather that day, the ice cream van was starting its engine so we had an awesome cool dessert.
In summer, during the weekend, the beach is very crowded and busy. We dipped our toes into the water and yes, it was freaking cold! But nothing stops the Brits from having fun! Children, adults, old people, they were all swimming and paddling, enjoying the coolness in this hot summer day.
Ready? Birling Gap is the halfway point, so only 10 km left from here to Eastbourne! You have yet to discover two lighthouses! The first one is very close to Birling Gap: Belle Tout. It functioned between 1834 and 1902 and now it’s a unique B&B. Did anyone say ice cream again?!
The second lighthouse is Beachy Head and you can notice its white and red stripes from afar. It was erected in 1902 and served its purpose until 2011 when the authorities replaced the navigation light system with a newer and shinier one.
After Beachy Head, the scenery isn’t that impressive anymore and you can sea Eastbourne in the distance. If you need to take the train back to London, I have bad news for you: there is quite a walk from the end of the trail to the train station, approx. 30 min. Walk along the beach so you can see the Eastbourne Pier and the cute palm garden!
Eastbourne seemed very pretty and chic but unfortunately, I didn’t have much strength to explore it properly. Maybe next time! Meanwhile, I’ll have a well-deserved nap on the train!