I hadn’t planned on joining a hiking group, but when a friend told me that she had been on some enjoyable hikes through the English countryside, I was certainly intrigued. We’ve done a few short hikes with the kids, but I’ve recently had to face the fact that they aren’t going to go as far as I’d like to. So I signed up with a Meetup group called Outdooraholics and have enjoyed a couple of long hikes through areas I have been wanting to explore.
Long Man of Wilmington – East Sussex
We started off at the Arlington Reservoir, which you can just make out at the top of the picture below, and we walked through rural Sussex to the Long Man of Wilmington chalk carving. It’s origin isn’t known, but is believed to be from the 16th or 17th century.
We also stopped at a beautiful little church in Wilmington before continuing on to Eastbourne – a coastal town known as the sunniest spot in Great Britain.
This gorgeous hiking route was just what I needed to sooth a bit of wanderlust lately. In the business of our everyday lives, it’s easy for me to forget that I live in a beautiful part of the world, where there is plenty to see and experience. I’m quickly reminded of this every time I jump on the train and shuttle into London.
However, a train ride out to the countryside and especially to the coast, is also a great way to make an ordinary Saturday into a little holiday.
We walked 13 up-and-down miles from Seaford to Eastborne, and the dramatic chalk cliffs that plunge down into the sea make for one of the most beautiful hiking routes I’ve ever been on.
The cliff below is known as Beach Head, the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 162 metres above sea level. It offers glorious views, including the picturesque lighthouse below, however is also one of the most notorious suicide spots in the world. Because of this there are 24 hour patrols by a chaplaincy team, looking for the lost and the broken-hearted and trying to prevent suicide. This is a very sobering thought as we see the patrols cars drive along.
I’m not sure where our next hike will take us, but this one will be hard to beat!