Celebrating our wonderful East Sussex coastal walks

Seven Sisters and Smugglers Cottages – pic by Alex FranklinSeven Sisters and Smugglers Cottages – pic by Alex Franklin
Seven Sisters and Smugglers Cottages – pic by Alex Franklin
Seaford will welcome hundreds of visitors and locals to Walk the Chalk, a five-day community arts and heritage festival heralding the opening of the King Charles III England Coast Path.

It all happens between September 20-24 at South Hill Barn, Seaford Head Nature Reserve, Cuckmere Haven and the Seven Sisters.

LYT Productions in partnership with Lewes District Council are offering Walk the Chalk, the flagship celebration amongst nine national events to mark the launch of the King Charles III England Coast Path. The path is opening in sections around the UK coast and will be fully walkable by the end of 2024.

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When completed, the new national trail will stretch all the way around the coast of England and will be about 2,700 miles long. It will take people through some of the finest landscapes in England, linking iconic places and heritage on the coast with less well-known areas and unlocking access to some parts of our coast for the first time.

During the celebration week, members of the public can learn about local flora and fauna, chalk, fossils, geology, history, folklore and the impact of climate change on this special location, through guided walks, talks, art exhibitions and performance, all free of charge.

Walk the Chalk, named after the iconic white chalk cliffs, has been made possible by generous sponsors including a grant of over £200,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and £17,000 from partner Natural England, the public body sponsored by Defra, which helps to protect and restore our natural world.

Deanna Auker, Natural England’s project manager for the King Charles III England Coast Path, said: “We’re delighted be part of the Walk the Chalk event in Seaford to celebrate this wonderful stretch of the King Charles III England Coast Path. It passes through some of our most dynamic and breath-taking landscapes on the south coast and there’s truly something for everyone, whether you’re a seasoned walker or new to the path. We greatly encourage everyone to get out and experience the joys of being in nature and our iconic coastline. Above all, Walk the Chalk will celebrate the joys of being in nature and the iconic coastal landscape of the Seaford and Cuckmere Haven areas. The project encourages more people to learn about their natural heritage, by connecting them with the nature and wildlife on their doorstep.”

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Helen Browning-Smith, Tourism & Arts Manager and Walk the Chalk project leader for Lewes District Council, said: “The longer I’ve worked around this wonderful spot, the more I can see what an exceptional place it is – pretty much the most stunning piece of coastline in the UK and the site of a unique collision of history, biodiversity, beauty and geology. I think whoever comes here and learns about it from Walk the Chalk will want to protect and respect it and pass the message on to everyone they meet.” Phil Rose, artistic director and Walk the Chalk Project Leader for LYT Productions, added: “It never ceases to amaze me how creatives respond to the environment around them and create such wonderful interpretations connected to heritage and nature. It makes me happy beyond belief to see the concept and embryo of ideas grow into real pieces – even happier to watch the curious reactions from attendees. The energy, passion and professionalism shown by the young LYT team also makes me extremely proud.”

The King Charles III England Coast Path will enable all to access the natural environment and experience the health and wellbeing benefits that it can bring. Opening access to the coast is part of the Government’s ambition to connect people with nature and is key to achieving the aspirations of the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan, with the ambition to bring everyone within 15 minutes of a green space.

Supported by Seaford Town Council, the South Downs National Park Authority, South East Water, the Chalk Cliff Trust and the Towner Gallery.