Seven Sisters, Beachy Head & Firle | East Sussex
One of England’s most iconic walks is the Seven Sisters in East Sussex, a walk which takes in jaw-dropping, quintessentially English sheer white cliffs and the delightfully bonkers lighthouses at Beachy Head.
The Seven Sisters is a row of undulating meadows which end abruptly with a sheer drop into the English Channel. It’s hard not to feel the brutal strength of nature as you see cottages which were once a safe distance inland now perching perilously at the edge of the cliffs. It’s no surprise that the area has been used many times as a filming location, including for Luther, Atonement and the 1980s dramatisation of Fay Weldon’s The Life and The Loves of She-Devil.
We recommend starting your walk at the National Trust car park at Birling Gap. Not least because it’s a great place to have a well-deserved lunch or slice of cake afterwards. You can also park at Exceat if you fancy a much longer walk.
It’s not a particularly long walk to Beachy Head, but do not be fooled that it is an easy stroll. There is a lot of up and down and you will climb hills so high you will feel as if the ground has been rotated. But this is half the fun, especially if you are a dog or if you are under 14. It’s particularly good to run from the top of one hill down and up the other side, channelling a bit of Sonic the Hedgehog along the way. There are no barriers at the edge, so be careful with your children and dogs, but don’t let that put you off for a moment.
On the walk you will pass the eccentric decommissioned Belle Tout lighthouse that served as the location for The Life Loves of a She Devil - you can stay in the lighthouse which is something that is definitely on our to-do list. The lighthouse was moved inland in one piece in 1999 to prevent it dropping off the cliff owing to coastal erosion.
You will also get many tantalising glimpses of the working Beachy Head lighthouse that sits in all its iconic red and white striped glory at the base of the cliffs – its southerly location means that it can only receive French TV. On a clear day your efforts will be rewarded with stunning views over the sparkling English channel.
We also recommend dropping down briefly from the A27 on the way home for lunch at the Ram Inn and a stroll around the exceedingly pretty and properly English village of Firle. Think Miss Marple, rose covered cottages, cricket pickets and shady lanes leading to ancient churches.