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.
As followers of my blog will know my partner is a musician on a cruise ship with his band Funky Blue. We say ‘goodbye’ a lot ‘Standing on the Docks in Southampton’ (Lennon and McCartney) and ‘Hello’ in lots of different countries as I travel the world to be with him. This year has seen a huge change in our lives. We flew back from Cuba in March and have been together 24/7 ever since. I’ve missed the travelling, but loved having him around.
Wherever we are in the world, together or apart, this is our song- the iconic Mr Louis Armstrong with All the Time in the World.
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.
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.
We took a road trip recently to Cambridge , England. While there we did a chauffeured punt down the River with local company Scudamore’s Punting: https://www.scudamores.com/punting-quayside. As we sailed the river past the university colleges, listening to our very knowledgable chauffeur, I was reminded of the Romantic poet William Wordsworth’s ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge September 3, 1802…’ :
Earth has not any thing to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty: This City now doth, like a garment, wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still!
The poem was about the river Thames, not the River Cam, however Wordsworth did study at St. John’s College Cambridge, so I felt my connection was valid.
Skegness (Skeggy) is a seaside town in Lincolnshire, England. On the Lincolnshire coast of the North Sea.
I went to the Butlins Holiday Camp in Skegness as a child. My partner played gigs on Skegness sea front in his early band career. Everyone I know has a Skeggy memory- work day trips, family holidays. Just a mention brings a smile to people’s faces.
Billy Butlin’s slogan was ‘Our True Intent is All For Your Delight’
It was originally a quote from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. Butlins feels a long way from Shakespeare- but maybe not. They both entertained the masses.
We didn’t go to Butlins on this occasion, but we were delighted in Skegness.
Today we did a rural village walk. Our route around the village of Northiam was taken from East Sussex Walks. In and around the rural villages by Sandy Hernu (ISBN 1857700597)
Our three and a half mile walk was quintessentially English on this late summer day.
An unexpected point of interest was Queen Elizabeth’s Oak. The remains of this huge oak tree is where Queen Elizabeth I chose to sit beneath and rest on her journey to the nearby town of Rye on August 11th 1573. She was served a meal under its branches brought from a nearby house. She then changed her shoes , leaving behind the original green damask ones as a momento of her visit. Apparently they still exist.
For me there is nowhere like India- the vibrant culture, the amazing Himalayas, arid Rajasthan and the idyllic beaches of Goa. I absolutely love it and today is Indian Independence day – fifty three years of Indian Independence.
Which got me thinking beyond my Indian travels to my favourite books with an Indian setting. Here they are: