POSTPONED - Men with big guns at Fortress Newhaven
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Today's event is a ten mile linear walk, after the first nine of which we shall visit the 1850s fort concealed above and in the cliffs of Newhaven in East Sussex.
Newhaven is a bit of an odd place. On the seaside, it has a long impressive breakwater with a raised platform, under which there are arches and hideyholes. In the past, we used to walk out onto this when the weather was foul, sheltering in the holes etc as the sea threw huge waves over the top of us. Fantastically exciting when we were kids but all closed off now, presumably by the spoil-sports of elf 'n safety.
Next to that is a lovely sandy beach, alas privately owned now and also inaccessible to the general public. Such a pity as there is now no reason really to go to Newhaven just for itself as the town is very uninteresting. However, Newhaven is still a ferry port to get to Dieppe- a lovely place. The other is that the potholed cliffs are actually a part of Newhaven Fort. That is our ultimate destination on this day. Please do follow this link to see where we shall go:
The view outwards from the fort and the beaches below it is the two harbour arms of Newhaven and further away but very much dominating the sky, the hulk of Seaford Head which is the start of the Seven Sisters.
The first eight miles or so of the walk are more or less flat, following the river Ouse as it meanders its way down the valley from Lewes to Newhaven, passing the villages of Iford, Northease, Rodmell, Southease and Piddinghoe along the way. The route varies from possibly slightly muddy according to the weather, to well-kept hard tracks as the riverside walk becomes the well-kept Egrets Way as we cross the South Downs Way. We will enter the Newhaven and follow the river past the various yacht marinas and then, not going all the way to the beach, we walk up Castle Hill for fantastic views before then entering the fort itself for a bit of tourism and, hopefully, afternoon tea.
Admission details aren't published yet for 2020 as the fort is closed in mid winter to reopen in mid February. Last year it was just over £8 per head or maybe slightly less if we can get a group discount.
When we have finished with the fort we shall have another mile to walk to Newhaven Town station, where we catch the train for the short journey back to Lewes. There is no fixed end time for this event; it depends how long we spend at the fort.
Dogs are very much welcomed in the fort which is just as well as mine will be with me.
What to bring
This day is either very late winter or, perhaps, the first day of spring as it is the date of the spring equinox. The weather could be lovely or it could be awful. If the latter, we can adapt the length and route of our walk if necessary. The weather can change dramatically between the lowland riverbank and the higher exposed cliffs by the fort. Please be prepared for anything.
Walking boots are pretty much essential, particularly near the river.
Food & drink
Please bring a packed lunch plus whatever other snacks or drinks you may require, at least for the morning. There is a small convenience store right opposite the station entrance. We will doubtless be able to have further food or tea etc. in the fort.