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Two people walking over sand dunes at the beach

Coastal walks in Sussex you don't want to miss

Say Sussex, and some very obvious coastal walks come to mind. How could you not think of Brighton Beach and the epitome of sandy strolls? But there’s around 140 miles of coastline to this southern county – and many more treks to take through the salty sea air. This stretch of coastline is framed by giant white cliffs, historic sites, and beautiful beaches. So join us on a little tour of the Sussex coastline, as we show you a few of our favourite walks.

The West Wittering Beach Circular

Starting on the west of Sussex, our first walk is The West Wittering Beach Circular, which is around the National Trust site, East Head. It’s one of the last surviving pieces of natural coastline in West Sussex – with shifting sand dunes, salt marsh and 360-degree views. The whole stroll isn’t too long, it’s around three miles, and has you wandering the circumference of this mini peninsula, taking a couple of hours at a slow pace. It’s dog friendly, and a great place to bring kids to frolic in the sand. Time it perfectly, and with some good luck (and weather), between the grass on the dunes rippling in the wind, the last of the sun on the sand, and the ruddy purples of sunset on the water, you’ll see almost every colour of the rainbow.

Medmerry Nature Reserve

Moving a little further east, you’ll find The Medmerry Nature Reserve between Medmerry Beach and Windmill Beach. It’s a very unique area, where the lines are blurred between the sea and the shore. The coast becomes a patchwork knit of stilt pools, ponds and land. It’s incredibly popular with a vast array of birds, some familiar and some a little more rare, all competing for your attention in aerial acrobatics. It’s run by the RSPB, but you won’t find much of a trace of them on the site – and it’s great. The spectacle here is the wildlife, and the incredible views. There are 6.25 miles of trails around the site, and depending on your pace you could entertain yourself with a walk for between one and four hours.

Seaford Head Nature Reserve

A few miles from Peacehaven, you’ll find The Seaford Head Nature Reserve. Not well known, this area is strangely bustling with things to do. The reserve itself is around 83 hectares, which is only .3 of a square mile. But there’s the woods that are shared with the adjacent golf course you can tour. Where the reserve ends at the Cruckmere river in the northeast, you can have a pint by the water at The Cruckmere Inn, perhaps on the way to Friston Forest a little further north. Nearby Exceat, you can also hit up Buzz Active – where you can rent SUPs and kayaks – if you want to pair a walk with a little seafaring. But most amazingly, this tiny stretch of Nature Reserve has its very own coffee shop at its heart – and on its southern boundary, a potter’s studio to visit. The best part? From here, you have an iconic view of Cruckmere Haven, and the Seven Sisters Cliffs that frame it in chalk behind.

Peacehaven Cliffs (2.13mi 1 way)

Definitely something of a hop, skip and a jump from Medmerry, Peacehaven is on the eastern side of Brighton. If you leave the car in the Bastion Steps Car park, it’s a mile down The Undercliff Walk to the soaring Peacehaven Cliffs. On the way, you’ll walk past the white rock face, where a geological dig continues to excavate ammonites hidden in its depths. When you reach the end of the concrete path, you can ascend up the stairs built into the bluff. At the top, the path switches to grass, and curls round the cliff face towards Newhaven beach. Here, you can choose between an hour or two on the sand, hitting up the fish and chip shop on the promenade, or even heading inland just a little to tour the Castle Hill Nature reserve which sits just by the beach. Or even explore the Newhaven Fort if you’re a history buff. This walk is as long as a piece of string. A piece of string that’s about 2.13 miles from the car park to Newhaven beach, but it COULD be longer, if you take a tour at the end. You’ve got options.

Hastings Beach to Fairlight cove

With so much to do in Hastings, from castles to beaches, to fine dining, somewhere like Farmyard on Kings Rd, is a natural starting point for a good stroll. If you start out in Hastings Old Town, and head past the beacon towards East Hill and St George’s churchyard, you can stroll past the cliff into woodland. From there, out the other side, follow the cliff on towards Fairlight Glen – another wooded area. If you’re feeling brave, you can stop off at Fairlight Glen Beach which is modestly referred to as ‘clothing optional’. From here, either follow the path through the woods, or along the coastline (be wary of tide times) all the way to Fairlight Cove. It’s around three miles each way, so altogether it’s a bit of a longer walk, though worth every minute for the combination of woodland and stunning coastline.