SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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A Downland road can be taken from here to Friston, Eastdean and Eastbourne, saving some miles of up and down walking, but the most enjoyable though more strenuous route is by the cliff path from Cuckmere Haven over the "Seven Sisters" cliffs to Beachy Head; a glorious six miles with the sea on one side and the Downs on the other, culminating in the finest headland on the south coast, 575 feet high, the
magnificent end of the Downs in the sea. All these cliffs provide nesting-places for wild birds.
"I was much struck by the watchful jealousy with which the peregrines seemed to guard the particular cliff—more than 500 feet from the sea—on a lofty ledge of which their nest was situated, and which, indeed, they evidently considered their especial property; with the exception of a few jackdaws who bustled out of the crevices below, all the other birds which had now assembled on this part of the coast for the breeding season—it being about the middle of May—seemed to respect the territory of their warlike neighbours. The adjoining precipice, farther westward, was occupied by guillemots and razorbills, who had deposited their eggs, the former on the naked ledge, the latter in the crevices in the face of the cliff Here the jackdaws appeared quite at their ease, their loud, merry note being heard above every other sound, as they flew in and out of the fissures in the white rock or sate perched on a pinnacle near the summit, and leisurely surveyed the busy crowd below."
(A.E. Knox.)
At Birling Gap, just short of the Head, is a coast-guard station and the point of departure for the cable to France where we may descend to the coast by an opening which was once fortified. In history Beachy Head (possibly "Beau Chef") is chiefly remembered for the battle between the combined English and Dutch fleets and the French, in which the English admiral did not show to the best advantage.
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