Barry to Llantwit Major | 10.10.11

9. Barry to Llantwit Major | 10.10.11

IMG_0221We get a ride to the start of the walk – an ex-gypsy taxi driver full of tales. Scrabbling out and up on to the cliffs overlooking Barry, we later walk gingerly past static caravans perched on the edge of the cliffs at Porthkerry. Little did we know that the following day our footsteps would crumble leaving caravans see-sawing before breakfast – a narrow escape. The walk continues on desolate stretches of grey beach around Rhoose, followed by shingle to Llantwit and a fried egg sandwich.

Brighton to Shoreham | 9.10.11

8. Brighton to Shoreham | 9.10.11

P1020004Squinting in the sun I walk past the colourful beach huts at Hove, a few souls swimming in the creamy surf. The walk then continues along the sea wall, the landscape becoming more and more industrial – thank goodness the sun is shining. Later I stop for directions and an old gentleman tells me the path “elbows to the right” into the ugly wharfs and wastelands of pre Shoreham.



Seaford to Brighton | 08.10.11

7. Seaford to Brighton | 08.10.11

P1010968Wide promenade of Seaford giving way to industrial wastelands around Newhaven. Pleasure boats where once the ships brought in massive blocks of ice from the inland Baltic lakes. Recurring images of cormorants, real and otherwise. Then Peacehaven where the vertiginous steps cut into the crumbling cliffs and lead down to the bright smack of the sea against its concrete defences.


Distance: 12 miles

Hastings to Camber Sands | 25.9.11

6. Hastings to Camber Sands | 25.9.11

costal_walk_3Hopped over to Winchelsea since I had already walked Hastings to Winchelsea in another life. Spent quite a lot of time, along with several other people, trying to find Spike Milligan’s grave in the local church. Seeing, not for the first time no doubt, knots of people with puzzled faces wandering about, the vicar came out to save us with the disappointing news that Spike’s wife had taken the headstone away to be re-furbished. I do hope she doesn’t get rid of the famous inscription “I told them I was ill”. I then get lost for a while, but to compensate I whip through Rye to the roar of motorbikes, on to the fluted wet sands of Camber and the languid flight of far off kites.

Distance: 6 miles

Eastbourne to Hastings | 24.9.11

5. Eastbourne to Hastings | 24.9.11

costal_walk_4Stretches of the south coast of England are almost interchangeable. I am very grateful for low tide as I trudge along the coast, hemmed in by  relentless ribbons of hotels and gaudy amusement arcades. Coming back in the train my ears are assaulted by a group of drunk bellowing football fans in a small crowded carriage. Other passengers cower in their seats – strained fearful smiles. My spirits lift when I crawl into The Big Sleep hotel in Eastbourne, run by vintage geezers in tattoo, who offer me very cold beer.