Monday, 18 May 2020

6 Great Walks for Social Distancing in East Sussex

East Sussex walks header

Thank the Lord for a change in what we're allowed to do in the UK during this pandemic. I know that some people are not happy that lockdown has lightened and don't want to be heading out for walks, and that is OK, we are all different. It is your prerogative to choose what is right for your family. I'm happy for my family to go out together and enjoy the great outdoors and keep a 2-metre distance between us and other families, or if necessary to quickly pass each other on a path.

There seems to be agreement from the scientists that the risk of contracting the coronavirus in the great outdoors is far less than indoors, and it is certainly more fun to be to in the sun taking some exercise than it is to head into a supermarket.

We've decided to stay fairly local to home when we head out for a trip, as there doesn't seem any need to start travelling massive long distances when there are great places on our doorstep, and if everyone did this there would be far fewer worries about areas becoming inundated with visitors from afar.

Here are our recommendations for six walks you can take in East Sussex and enjoy the great outdoors, whilst also being sensible and applying the rules of social distancing.

1.   Seven Sisters Cliffs and Country Park (near Eastbourne - BN20 0AB)


This week I dropped my husband and children at Birling Gap (the National Trust car park is open and charging, but the toilets and cafe area closed) so they could take the 4-mile walk across the cliffs. The seven sisters are seven cliffs that elevate up and down, so this can be a bit of a challenging walk, but it is well worth it when you get to the Cuckmere valley and you can walk to either the beach or through the meandering river and up to the car park where I had parked to collect them.

A word of warning if you're new to this area, the cliffs are made of chalk and prone to crumble, so please stay away from the edge as they can be super dangerous and no photo is worth your life.

Brass Point on Seven Sisters cliffs
Thanks to my husband for this image


2.   Cuckmere Valley (near Eastbourne - BN26 5TT)


If you want to see the cliffs but need an easier walk due to little legs, a wheelchair or pushchair then this is a great place, it takes about an hour to walk from the parking down to the beach and back, but there is so much to see and do with the beautiful meandering Cuckmere river. Why not take along your fishing nets and see what your little ones can find in the river?

Parking is £3 for under 2 hours and £4 for over 2 hours. There is normally toilets, a cafe and visitor centre here. You can also kayak and paddleboard here normally.

Cuckmere Valley


3.   Rye Harbour Nature Reserve (Rye - TN31 7TX)


This 46-hectare reserve is gorgeous and there is a nice long, tarmacked path right up the middle, that is good for those needing an easy walk to maybe using wheels. There are loads of grassed or pebble paths too though, to allow you to get away from everyone else and to enjoy the space and fresh-air social distancing style.

Check out my full review of visiting the nature reserve. The parking is free and there is normally public toilets and cafes nearby, but obviously, at the moment, things are a little different


Rye Harbour nature reserve

4.   Bewl Water (Lamberhurst - TN3 8JH)


I think Bewl Water might officially be Kent but it is right on the border, so I'll include it, as it isn't that far from our home in Battle. Bewl Water is massive, far bigger than I expected and you can spend the whole day there when the weather is nice. You can walk, walk your dogs, ride your horse, cycle, fish and so much more. The scenic route around the whole water reservoir is 12.5 miles and will take around 6/7 hours or you can just enjoy sections of the whole reserve. There is normally a water taxi running and lots of water sports, including an aqua parc, are available but of course, this may differ right now.

Parking for a car is just £4 for the whole day and there is a cafe, restaurant and toilets on site. In the summer months, it is open 8am to 30 minutes before dusk.

5.   Arlington Reservoir (Polegate - BN26 6TF)


This is a pretty easy 1 3/4 mile circular walk and you can take your dog on a lead. There is no cycling and many of the paths are not suitable for any kind of wheels, as they are rugged rocks. It feels very calming but he water and you go through some woods and get some wonderful views of the countryside and the South Downs. There are plenty of benches around and some picnic benches too.

Normally there are toilets available and parking is £1 for under 2 hours and £2 for more than 2 hours. At the moment the car park is locked but you can park along the side of the road as it is quite right now.

Arlington Reservoir


6.   Bodium Castle circular walk (Bodium - TN32 5UB


There are some great circular walks past Bodium castle either towards Robertsbridge, or in the other direction, towards Sandhurst, and they tend to be around 5/6 miles, with beautiful picturesque views of the countryside and this iconic moated castle.

You can park for free at the castle if you're a member, or otherwise, it is a case of finding a spot along one of the country roads. Normally the cafe at the castle and also The Hub at Bodium are great places to eat.

Bodium Castle

These are just a few of the walks we've enjoyed in recent times and there are loads more around this area.

Check out these sites for more ideas of trails and walks to take in East Sussex


All Trails

East Sussex Country Council recommended walks

Countryfile East Sussex recommended walks

Komoot for hiking recommendations in East Sussex

Est Sussex walks on Walk & Cycle

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