The Bogtrotter

Beachy Head circular walk

by on Jun.03, 2012, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

A six mile circular walk, taking in the cliffs of Beachy head with the quiet country tracks of deepest Sussex.

Beachy Head Lighthouse

The walk starts at East Dean, either at the Village Hall car park or the adjoining bus stop. From here take the road up to the A259. Cross the road and turn right, going up the hill for 200 metres until a track veers off to the left. Follow this track, which starts of as a driveway to several houses on the left but soon reduces to a grass track through a chalk down. The track gradually climbs until after about a mile you emerge from a hollow to find yourself in the middle of Eastbourne Downs Golf Course.

Turn right and once again cross the A259. The track on the opposite side is slightly to your right, and goes over the brow of a hill to a trig point. From here you have views across the heathland, with ancient woods and the town of Eastborne below you. Bear right at the pond, and follow the track to slowly descend towards the small road junction for Birling Gap. Cross the road, keeping to the seaward side, and continue along the path until you eventualy join the South Downs Way that tracks the coast. If you want a break, you can stop for lunch at The Beachy Head Inn or stop at the Beachy Head visitors centre.

The next two miles hug the coastline as you follow the clifftops along. You see the Beachy Head lighthouse below you, looking remarkably small compared to the cliffs it warns of. As you approach Birling Gap you have to duck inland to pass the Belle Tout lighthouse, taking a short steep path down to the road.

Cross the road and go past the car park, taking the track up the opposite side of the Gap. After 250 metres, turn sharp right away from the coast, and head up the hill into the fields. After crossing a couple of fields, you will see a barn with a brightly coloured red roof. Just after this the path drops down into the woodlands on your right, and cuts down at an angle as you descend towards East Dean.

As you emerge from the woods, follow the lane into the village. From here you can go past the Tiger Inn pub, and wind your way back to the car park. In the village there are several tea shops where you can recharge yourself with some excellent high-calorie cakes.

The walk is based on an excellent free “South Downs Bus Walks” leaflet from Brighton & Hove Council. For a free copy, email them asking for a set of these leaflets at or phone (01273) 292480. Walk 12 covers Beachy Head, and my walk adds the extra bit a the start of this to convert into a circular walk.

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