A new walk telling the stories of Black and Asian soldiers at a First World War training camp in the area around Cuckmere has been created.
Officials behind the Discovering Britain walk say this Armistice Day offers a poignant opportunity to experience the new trek and learn about the forgotten heroism and contribution of Black and Asian soldiers to the contribution, while enjoying one of England’s most popular beauty spots.
Cuckmere Haven has been chosen by Discovering Britain as the most recent addition to its series of geographically-themed walks. While the area with its stunning coastal path is already one of Britain’s best loved landscapes, this new trail reveals the less well known stories of the men from Britain’s colonies who joined the British Army to fight in the conflict.
Starting in Seaford, the site of two First World War training camps where soldiers from the British West Indies Regiment (BWIR) were encamped, the three-and-a-half mile route weaves along the coastline and cliffs to reveal the forgotten stories behind the stunning seaside views. There is also an optional stop-off in Seaford Cemetery to see 300 Commonwealth War Graves.
The directions, accompanying Ordnance Survey maps and a written guide, are all free and are available to download from the Discovering Britain website.
The hilly contours and diverse terrain along the trail show why the geography of the area made it a suitable place for battle training and military practice. The area’s proximity to Newhaven, a wartime harbour that provided ammunition and recruits, was also beneficial.
As well as learning about the Great War, walkers will enjoy the famous view of the Seven Sisters cliffs, find out how the landscape inspired wartime propaganda, encounter the war poetry of Edward Thomas and pass through a wild and abundant nature reserve.
Caroline Millar at Discovering Britain, said, “The Cuckmere Valley is one of the most popular beauty spots in southern England, but this idyllic place has other stories to tell - of conflict, sacrifice and forgotten heroism. I hope this trail offers the curious walker a chance to go deeper into the landscape and experience the stories beyond the view.”
For more information about the walk visit www.discoveringbritain.org/activities/south-east-england/walks/cuckmere-haven-walk