Prevailing Winds.

Loved these trees on our walk this morning. Guess which way the wind blows…!

In the UK the most common winds (known as the prevailing winds) are from the west or south-west. These winds arrive in Britain after crossing the Atlantic Ocean, from which they pick up moisture.

‘O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing…’

Ode to the West Wind, Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792- 1822.

Shoreham to Lancing

Continuing our south coastal journey, this time we walked from Shoreham to Lancing.

Shoreham-by-Sea is a coastal town and port in West Sussex, England. The town is bordered to its north by the South Downs, to its west by the Adur Valley and to its south the River Adur and Shoreham Beach on the English Channel.

There is a boardwalk which runs roughly from the end of the port and along Shoreham beach, then a footpath takes you down to Lancing. The beach is a nature reserve and we spotted lots of wildlife on the way, as well some fabulous houses lining the beach.

Lancing has a beautiful College- an independent boarding and day school. It looked magnificent in the distance.

Lancing College

Next stage of our coastal pathway will be Lancing down to Worthing, West Sussex.?

Newhaven Heights.

This weekend’s walk was the stretch of coastline between Peacehaven and Newhaven.

Newhaven is a working port town, as opposed to a seaside town like Eastbourne and Seaford, with a regular ferry passenger service to Dieppe in France. It’s West Beach, French owned, was closed in 2008 because of safety concerns about the crumbling sea-defence walls and harbour steps. but there is an ongoing local campaign and negotiations to reopen the beach.

The coastline was barren and exposed but beautiful. We passed the coastguard watch tower and the old fort, which dates from the Neolithic age, through the Bronze and Iron Age and was then occupied by the Romans. Today there are the remains of various Second World War buildings.

During the Second World War the port, along with a large stretch of the South Coast, was a German bombing target. To protect Newhaven Port, the nearby river Cuckmere acted as a night-time decoy. The valley would be lit up like the port during bombing raids in an attempt to draw bombers off course and minimise the barrage of the town.

It was a fabulous walk, steeped in history and a totally different landscape from the Eastbourne South Downs where we commenced our coastline walk.

Newhaven FC.

Followers of my blog will know that I’m a bit of a football fan. They will also know that I like local football grounds. Lockdown has meant that instead of international travel we’ve been rediscovering our local area over the past year. Today took us over to Newhaven in East Sussex- another stretch of the coastline that I’ll cover in another blog.

Today’s picnic stop was by Newhaven Football Club grounds.

Newhaven FC is one of the oldest clubs in Sussex, and was formed by the Towner family who were brewers in the town during the latter 19th century, plus some of their enthusiastic friends. A meeting took place at the Bridge Hotel in December 1887 when it decided to form the Club and 20 members signed up on the day.

About Newhaven Football Club

Newhaven FC. ‘The Dockers’

They play in the Southern CombinationPremier Division. Unfortunately, as with the majority of local clubs the 2019- 2020 season was abandoned. Hoping for better things for 2021- 2022.

Cuckmere Valley to Birling Gap.

Last Sunday saw us walking another stretch of the South Downs from the Cuckmere Valley to Birling Gap.

Cuckmere Valley is a civil parish in the Wealden District of East Sussex, England. As its name suggests, the parish consists of a number of small settlements in the lower reaches of the River Cuckmere.

Birling Gap is an idyllic coastal hamlet nestled between the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. It is famous for its Coastguard Cottages and Cliff Falls.

It was a tough but exhilarating walk across four of the Seven Sisters, helped along with a flask of sweet tea and a Mars Bar in a sheltered spot.

South Downs Smugglers and Coastguards.

I walked a National Trust section of the South Downs this morning, from Went Hill to Brass Point.

Walking, my mind was full of mariners tales, coastguards, forgotten villages and smugglers- all fighting to survive in the rugged and wild conditions.

I will never tire of this landscape and its rich history!

A Smuggler’s Song.

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,
Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street;
Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark —
Brandy for the Parson,
Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, 
While the Gentlemen go by!

Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don’t you shout to come and look, nor use ’em for your play.
Put the brishwood back again — and they’ll be gone next day!

If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the lining’s wet and warm — don’t you ask no more!

If you meet King George’s men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you “pretty maid,” and chuck you ‘neath the chin,
Don’t you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one’s been!

Knocks and footsteps round the house — whistles after dark —
You’ve no call for running out till the house-dogs bark.
Trusty’s here, and Pincher’s here, and see how dumb they lie —
They don’t fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!

If you do as you’ve been told, ‘likely there’s a chance,
You’ll be given a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood —
A present from the Gentlemen, along o’ being good!

Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark —
Brandy for the Parson,
‘Baccy for the Clerk;
Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie —
Watch the wall, my darling,
While the Gentlemen go by!

By Rudyard Kipling.

The Jackdaw.

Went for a winter walk up here:

Sussex Downs

And saw several of these little chaps:

Jackdaw

These cheeky little birds love humans and anything shiny. They pair for life and stalk around with a dignified bearing. They love human structures and a church steeple is an ideal spot to set up home:

‘A great frequenter of the church, Where bishop like, he finds a perch And dormitory too’

William Cowper (18th century poet).

They have their place in folklore too. A jackdaw on the roof meant a new arrival, or could mean an early death . Encounter one on the way to wedding and this was meant to bring good luck.

Sitting against a stone wall, with a flask of tea and a slice of homemade cake they entertained me on a sunny January morning.

Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team

Chaplaincy Headquarters

A shout out to these amazing guys.

‘…a valued search and rescue charity that seeks to save lives at Beachy Head, East Sussex.

We patrol on foot and by car and respond to emergency calls locating anyone at risk.

Using our skills in crisis intervention we offer supportive listening, to start a dialogue and to encourage more hopeful solutions than suicide.

We work alongside local services helping people to access support. All our chaplains are Christians and are members of local churches.’

https://bhct.org.uk/

Look to the Rainbow 🌈

Every colour of the rainbow visible.

Rainbow over Eastbourne Pier 23 December 2020

‘Look, look
Look to the rainbow.
Follow it over the hill
And the stream.
Look, look
Look to the rainbow.
Follow the fellow
Who follows a dream.’

Look to the Rainbow. Finian’s Rainbow (Musical fantasy , 1968)

Somewhere over there might be a better 2021 for us all.

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

The Salt Path 

Raynor and Moth lost everything, including the roof over their heads- they decided to walk the South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall while they took stock. At the same time Moth is diagnosed with a terminal illness. With their possessions in backpacks they battled the elements, walking and living the Path. The Salt Path is about the resilience and resourcefulness of human nature. It is also a story of loss, courage, hope and love.