New Shoreham-Eastbourne trail to form part of longest walking route in the world

A 33-mile trail between Shoreham and Eastbourne has opened as part of a 2,700-mile-long walking route which is set to be the longest in the world.

The route is the first complete section of the England Coast Path to open in Sussex – although 17 full stretches have opened elsewhere in the country.

A Natural England spokesperson said, “The route includes coastal towns, stunning sea views with the iconic back-drop of the white chalk cliffs and rural landscapes created by the South Downs meeting the sea.”

The section of path, which opened today (Thursday, May 19), is part of a plan to connect the country’s entire coastline with one trail.

Castle Hill and Newhaven Fort. Picture from Natural England

The spokesperson added, “The walk will take people through some of the finest landscapes in England, as well as the many coastal towns, cities and ports which have shaped this island nation.

“For the first time in the history of footpaths, legal rights of public access will be secured to typical coastal land including beaches, dune and cliffs, allowing walkers to access places they’ve never been before.”

Natural England area manager Jim Seymour said, “I have personally felt the value of walking a section of this route recently with my family and I look forward to exploring more of this new route, now that it’s open, on my next trip.”

The trail begins in Shoreham before walkers cross the River Adur estuary.

New signs by Cuckmere Haven. Picture from Natural England

A Natural England spokesperson said, “Here migratory wading birds and waterfowl can be seen on the saltmarsh and mud flats.

"Other sights include the old lighthouse in Shoreham Harbour with views of its maritime use, including unique houseboats, traditional boat yards and large commercial ships as they pass through Shoreham Port.

“The trail leads onto Hove Esplanade – en route to Brighton, where remains of West Pier can be spotted, and the Brighton i360 viewing tower can be seen – the tallest structure in Sussex.

"Walk along the bustling promenade on Brighton seafront up to Palace Pier then past Brighton Marina. Here you can follow the Undercliff Walk as far as Saltdean – there is also the option to take the clifftop route here.”

Walkers will then head through Peacehaven, Newhaven and Seaford before hiking over the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head.

This stretch of the England Coast Path ends at Eastbourne Pier.South East National Trail Partnership chair Andy Le Gresley said, “The trail links several iconic Sussex locations with a high-quality, well-signposted walking route.

"Walkers can enjoy a unique variety of urban and countryside coastlines, and a mix of different terrains and views – from steep hills to easy promenades.

“This new stretch of trail is also a vital link in the south east section of the England Coast Path. Once complete, the whole of the South East Coast Path will provide a new route for walkers, running from Shoreham-by-Sea to the London Borough of Bexley.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank local authority access officers and Natural England staff for their years of hard work and dedication to design, negotiate and create this excellent new section of Coast Path.”