We attempted a couple of walks during our stay, the first a lot more successful than the second. We started out on a trail from the village of Litlington and headed south through the beautiful Cuckmere Valley, following the river until we reached the Golden Galleon pub at Exceat Bridge near Seaford. It’s about a two mile walk (one way) and at a reasonable pace, should take about 40 minutes but there are a few distractions along the way which slowed us down.
The first is the white horse, carved into the chalk on Hindover Hill. The current incarnation was cut into the hill in the 1920s. The 90ft horse has been ‘scoured’ a few times since, which is why it appears in such good condition.
The river winds through fields of cows and buttercups and is blissfully quiet, asides from the odd dog walker. On a sunny May evening, a strong breeze blew through the valley but died quickly when we reached the more sheltered curves of the river. In some parts the dried and cracked riverbed was revealed and had more the appearance of a scorched African delta than the English countryside.
We stopped at the Golden Galleon for a quick pint before heading back, retracing our steps to Litlington. From the outside the Galleon looked like a cosy, seaside tavern but it opens up to a much larger pub that sadly bore a few hallmarks of being part of a larger chain (the menu for one looked uninspired, which put us off stopping for dinner).
The second walk we hoped to do was along the dramatic coastal cliffs at Beachy Head. Unfortunately for us we had neglected to bring any cash. All the car parks along the stretch of coastal road are pay and display and are cash only and there is literally nowhere else to part except for the National Trust run spaces. It is another frustrating example of tourist exploitation gone wrong and meant that with the few coins we did have, we only had half an hour to park and walk up the nearest hill and back down again. I think the least they could do is install machines that enable you to pay by credit card, or be decent enough to let people park and enjoy the scenery for free.