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.
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!
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.
This was at the Martello Tower (small defensive forts that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the French Revolutionary Wars onwards) at Seaford, East Sussex. Interesting!
As a post script to this post an old naval friend contacted me with a bit more information:
“It was flown first in the West Indies when the place was full of yellow fever by the Royal Navy but now it’s flown for other contagious disease.”
Today was a trip down the coast to Hastings. The town lies between two hills- East and West. It was attacked by the French during the Hundred Years War. The architecture is a fascinating mish-mash of styles ranging from Medieval to Victorian times.
The old town high street (George Street) is a diverse mix of antiquity and modern cosmopolitan. There are cute narrow twittens running off the Main Street up into the cliffs.
Enjoy a game of open air chess in the Old Town square.
Hastings has a thriving fishing community. It’s fleet is the largest in Europe that is launched from a beach as opposed to a quay or harbour.
A local character?
Lastly Hastings was the birthplace of Grey Owl, a pioneer Of Canada conservation- said to have saved the Canadian beaver from extinction.
‘Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore’
Even the humble shores of Newhaven in East Sussex. Newhaven ferry port overlooks the English Channel, one of the busiest shipping channels in the world. It is located on the south coast of England in the county of Sussex at the mouth of the river Ouse. It is the closest port to London with Ferry links to France, and is ideally placed between the seaside resorts of Brighton and Eastbourne with quick and easy access to the rest of the UK.
The Long Man of Wilmington situated on the South Downs in Sussex.
Formerly thought to originate in the Iron Age or even the neolithic period, a 2003 archaeological investigation has shown that the figure may have been cut in the Early Modern era – the 16th or 17th century AD. The Long Man is one of two extant human hill figures in East Sussex; the other is the Litlington White Horse, also in East Sussex.
Another autumn walk for us on a bright Sunday on the Sunshine Coast.