Cuckmere Haven circular

Beautiful out-and-back walk starting in Cuckmere Haven car park, taking in riverside, coastal path, village and forest

Technical sheet

A Seaford walk posted on 13/03/20 by brianroliver. Last update : 20/11/20
  • Walking
    Activity: Walking
  • ↔
    Distance: 13.48 km
  • ◔
    Calculated time: 4h50 
  • ▲
    Difficulty: Moderate

  • ∞
    Return to departure point: Yes
  • ↗
    Vertical gain: + 349 m
  • ↘
    Vertical drop: - 345 m

  • ▲
    Highest point: 116 m
  • ▼
    Lowest point: 2 m
  • ⚐
    Area: South Downs
  • ⚐
    District: Seaford 
  • ⚑
    Start/End: N 50.773048° / E 0.146169°

  • …
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Bench in Friston Forest
View of East dean, pub on the left
On the clifftops
SDW start


(S/E) Start in the car park of Cuckmere Inn, which is easily accessible by bus. Cross bridge eastwards, over the Cuckmere

(1) Follow signs for South Downs Way heading towards the sea. Bewfore arrival at the farm, follow signs for Foxhole camping centre. Bear right uphill and follow the steep path to the top. This is no longer the South Down Way, though this path will soon rejoin it on the clifftops.

(2) Head left and follow poorly defined paths. After one rise and dip and rise again, bear right towards the main clifftop path. Continue towards Birling Gap, plenty of up and down.

(3) Shortly before arrival, turn left on a path that skirts the shrubland and heads inland. Continue up towards the lone building in the field, bear left, and then, bear right until you see the clearly defined path.

(4) Take the path down on your right into East Dean. When facing the pub, turn left, and head up the path across the road (steepish) to Friston Church.

(5) Cross the road to the right, via the grass island, and you will see a path in the trees. Turn right and head down until you come to a steep stile and cross two fields, with a lane dividing them. Follow the path left, and bear left around the track in a few hundred yards. Follow this path until you see a clearly defined path on your right, signposted to Westdean.

(6) Turn right to the hamlet of Westdean, staying straight despite the many paths left and right. When you reach the tarmac road bear left and, by the pond, you will soon find a signpost to the South Downs Way again, to your left, up steep steps. At the top, you will see you are back above Cuckmere Haven and can see the car park.(S/E)


  1. S/E : km 0 - alt. 5 m - Depart
  2. 1 : km 0.78 - alt. 13 m - South Downs Way
  3. 2 : km 2.35 - alt. 42 m
  4. 3 : km 6.19 - alt. 38 m - Turn inland shortly before Birling Gap
  5. 4 : km 7.38 - alt. 88 m - Village of East Dean
  6. 5 : km 8.56 - alt. 114 m - Friston
  7. 6 : km 9.71 - alt. 45 m - Signpost to Westdean
  8. S/E : km 13.48 - alt. 5 m - Arrive back at start point

Useful Information

Always stay careful and alert while following a route. Visorando and the author of this walk cannot be held responsible in the event of an accident during this route.

During the walk or to do/see around

(4) Take a look around the village - famous pub The Tiger, a blue plaque on a house for Sherlock Holmes (possibly the only blue plaque for a fictional character), nice coffee shop and cafe, and a craft market some mornings.

Reviews and comments

4.2 / 5
Based on 2 reviews

Clarity of route description
4 / 5
Clarity of route map
3.5 / 5
Walk interest
5 / 5
le Fri 18 Sep 2020 05:33:12 EDT

Thanks for the feedback and apologies for the unclear description. I have now edited it to cover your points.

le Mon 10 Aug 2020 04:04:38 EDT

Overall rating: 4.7 / 5

Date of walk: 08/08/20
Clarity of route description: ★★★★★ Very good
Clarity of route map: ★★★★☆ Good
Walk interest: ★★★★★ Very good

Lovely walk, quite tiring but magnificent views.
Very poor descriptive instructions at key turns in the walk - this meant some backtracking and clambering to get back on the route.
An example of additions would have been keep walking until you reach the pond and then go up the steep steps at West Dene

le Mon 27 Jul 2020 04:14:45 EDT

Overall rating: 3.7 / 5

Date of walk: 20/07/20
Clarity of route description: ★★★☆☆ Average
Clarity of route map: ★★★☆☆ Average
Walk interest: ★★★★★ Very good

There were 3 parts of the walk where the instructions could have been much clearer:
1) "On arrival at the farm, follow signs for Foxhole camping centre" (you need to follow signs for the campsite BEFORE you get to the farm)

5) "Cross the road to the right and you will see a path in the trees" (there's an island in the centre of the road outside the church which you need to cross in order to reach the path. In summer the path is fairly well hidden by the trees so not easy to see from the road)

5) " Turn right and head down until you come to a steep stile and cross two fields" (in the middle of these 2 fields you cross a lane)

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.