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Jay Walking

Vanguard Way: Berwick Station to Newhaven

We caught the train back to Berwick station arriving around 10 am, we were not feeling in any rush as we only had reasonably small day to finish the Vanguard Way. The day was looking pretty good, the sky was clear and the weather forecast was good. After a little confusion due to the OS App having locked itself on to 1:50 000 scale we found the route and headed towards the West though fields to Stonery Farm where we headed South and slightly downhill. We cross a flat area of farm land though we could see the South Downs rising in the near distance, the paths were muddy but not as bad as some we had experienced.

We crossed a busy road and were soon in the small village of Berwick, it’s associated train station being located away from the actual village. The village looked nice, a few people were out walking dogs and we passed the old looking village pub and headed on to the church which was situated on a small rise at the edge of the village. The views to the South were quite impressive and we headed on through more fields, going gently down and uphill as we headed to Alfriston.

A ploughed field
A small footpath crossing fields of grass or wheat, heading off into the distance

Alfriston being the tourist hotspot that it is was already pretty busy, the coffee shop in the High Street were packed, so we headed on looking for somewhere else to have a drink. We pop into the village shop and picked up some bits and bobs for lunch before heading to the church, where we found another cafe where we stopped for a cup of tea. The cafe was busy with dog walkers and the occasional walker, though we were the only people sitting inside, after finishing we head back to the route, crossing the Cuckmere River, where we joined the South Downs Way and continued on South.

The church at Afriston set on a slight mound, with a spire
A two storey cottage, next to a road, bordered by shrubs

This was now familiar territory having walked the South Downs Way in 2021, we were soon at the village of Litlington where we headed steeply up on to the chalk escarpment, heading via a series of ups and downs to the small but busy village of Westdean. From Westdean it was another short steep climb and another descent to Exceat where we left the South Downs Way and headed along a horrible busy road to a bridge after which we headed South towards the West side of Cuckmere Haven, where there were great views of the Seven Sisters.

The Cuckmere River meandering to the sea, though a grassy flood plain
View along the coast of the white cliff buttresses known as the Seven Sisters

We were now on the Downs proper and it was a simple matter of walking Westwards towards the town of Seaford and then on to Newhaven were the route would finish. The walk to Seaford was busy with people but didn’t take long, it was pleasant to walk in the sun by the sea. The descent into Seaford passed a golf course that was partly on the downs, which made for some add teeing off places, it was probably one of the oddest or most original golf courses that I’d seen, not that I’m at all interested in the game. The walk along the Seaford promenade was reasonably pleasant and busy though there was really nothing of note, and walking on concrete was hard on the feet, so it was pleasure to head off onto a small footpath. We followed this for a few kilometre, initially along side a tidal river and then though some industrial areas before reaching Newhaven’s Harbour Station which was the end of the route. We could not find a way into the station from where we were so we headed up to the Town Station and finished there. It was a slightly under whelming finish to a walk, though in keeping with the start of the walk outside East Croydon Station.

View of Seaford town and beach from the chalk downs