Monday May 30th 2005
Brighton – Peacehaven
An early start to the day with the fast becoming familiar 6.57 am train from North Camp. We changed at Gatwick and were on the seafront at Brighton Pier at 9.15
The first part of the walk took us along the prom at Brighton past funfairs and amusements and the beautiful old Volks Railway. We had hoped that it would be running but it was far too early in the morning.
At the end of the pier we passed the old Black Rock swimming pool, now a skate park.
Our way continued through a tunnel under the access road to the new marina to emerge on a grass verge beside the main A259. The marina development with its complicated arrangement of flats, houses and shops lay below us. Many of the house have allocated moorings but the high protective wall on the sea side of the buildings means that no-one who lives there has a sea view.
As we walked along the wide grass verge the imposing buildings of Roedean School unfolded to our left. The pupils and staff there must have an excellent view of the sea from its very exposed site. Beyond Roedean another large building appeared and we speculated about its use. As we walked the name over the door became readable as St Dunstan’s, the home for blind ex-serviceman
The home has a tunnel under the road by which the residents can reach the beach and we were glad of its shelter from a short sharp shower. We ventured through the tunnel and peeped out the other side but the path was closed as some of the residents were practicing their archery in the grounds. Fascinating to watch but a somewhat scary concept.
The rain eased and the path then led us up and down several times with splendid sea view still on a verge beside the A259. Sometimes the verge was wide, sometimes uncomfortably narrow but always with us. At Rottingdean we rested for a few minutes on a cliff top bench and were amused to see a walker stride past us clutching a copy of “Walking the Coast of Sussex”.
Another steep drop brought us to the centre of Saltdean, which looked rather sad and neglected. The café was closed and the beautiful lido run down and uncared for. As we climbed out of Saltdean again it began to rain and we took refuge in a handy bus shelter for a while.
Another few minutes walking brought us high up to Telscombe Cliffs and the Badgers Rest pub where we stopped for a hearty and much appreciated lunch. The views wer wonderful from this pub perched right on the cliff edge.
After lunch we set off eastwards again along an easy clifftop path and before long came to the outskirts of Peacehaven. This village was created after the First World War as a new community but coastal erosion means that the cliff top is slowly disappearing into the sea. There is still a path in front of the houses but some are just metres from the edge and it surely will not be many years before they will be gone.
Also on the cliff top is the Meridian Monument marking the spot where the Greenwich meridian leaves Britain. It is not the most beautiful piece of public art bit it is interesting nonetheless and it is fun to stand with one foot in each hemisphere.
Soon we reached the end of Peacehaven and decided to call it a day. From the main road in the village we caught a bus back into Brighton to begin our journey home.