Rinroad’s hillterval training

We all know I love to walk (see Why I love long walks (now)Rinroad’s hiking tips and Rinroad the travelling yogi for evidence).

I love to walk almost as much as I love messing around with the names of exercises that involve intervals… Rinroad’s swimterval training, Rinroad’s hillterval training – forget SEO, those are the kind of post titles that are just begging to be used!

So I wanted to share an update on a recent walk I did that turned out to be the longest, hardest, but most rewarding walk I think I’ve ever done.

Clifftop view from Seaford Head, SussexSee those hills? Yep, I climbed those – all the way from Seaford Head to Beachy Head along the East Sussex portion of the South Downs Way.

Why was the walk hard? Well, it was 15 miles long, ‘up hill’ and ‘down dale’. Why was it rewarding? Because it was packed with amazing cliff top views and fab photo ops, like this:

Cows watching their reflection in a countryside streamCows are kind of cute when they’re on the other side of the water (terrifying if they’re in your way though!)

So I started the walk at Seaford train station, following the blue dot on Google maps towards the seafront until I reached Seaford Head golf course. From there, you can walk along the cliff top towards Cuckmere Valley and Seven Sisters Country Park. A word of warning though, be careful on Seaford Head. Since I did this walk a crack has opened up in the cliff so walkers are being warned to stay away from the cliff edge… stay more inland to get to Seven Sisters if need be.

When you get to Cuckmere Valley, it’s well worth the walk all the way around. It takes you away from the seafront and more inland, so to start with, you’ll wish you could just cut across the water to get to the South Downs Way. But the walk around the valley is so peaceful and calming I’d definitely recommend sticking with it! Here’s a picture to give you an idea:

Cuckmere Valley, East Sussex, UKSoon enough, you’ll get to Seven Sisters Country Park. You could spend a good amount of time here if you don’t fancy walking all the way to Beachy Head. It’s known for walking, birdwatching, cycling and even canoeing! There’s also a cycle hire shop if you’re much fitter than I am and fancy doing the rest of this walk on two wheels.

I followed the South Downs Way from Seven Sisters up to the cliff tops. When you get all the way up there, your view will look something like this:

Seven Sisters South Downs Way cliffs, East Sussex. UK

Now, prepare yourself! You’ll spend the next part of your walk climbing up and down hills until you feel like crawling up them instead! See why I’ve called it hillterval training? Keep stopping to take in the seafront views – especially if you’re walking on a sunny day. Just as you feel like your legs are about to fall off, you’ll come across a cafe at Birling Gap – they serve delicious cake, what more could you ask?

Next, you’ll reach two lighthouses. The first is Belle Tout (there are refreshments here too), the second is Beachy Head:

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/birling-gap-and-the-seven-sisters/

This lighthouse was the subject of many a local news story for a while (I reported on a few of them as a Sussex journo!) as there was a campaign going to raise enough money to repaint the distinctive red and white stripes. If you do this walk, use the lighthouse as a marker to know you’re almost at your destination – it’ll give you some much-needed encouragement to carry on to Beachy Head.

Once you get to Beachy Head (just a few more hills to go!) you’ll be able to see Eastbourne seafront. You have a couple of choices here. Stop for a drink and some food in the Beachy Head pub, catch a bus to your desired destination or carry on just a little bit further down to Eastbourne seafront. From there, it’s a beautiful beach-side walk to Eastbourne railway station, which is where I caught a train back home from.

When you finish your walk, I’d advise stretching out – I was sore for at least two days afterwards! Otherwise, congratulate yourself on a job well done – 15 miles including hillterval training is pretty hard work!

Look out for future posts on walks I’ve enjoyed around the Sussex/UK countryside. And, if you try them, let me know how they go!

  • Sue

    Looks beautiful and very peaceful. Hope the cows stay on the other side of the river.