1 - If arriving by train, exit Bishopstone Station on the south side, descend the steps and cross the road (Marine Parade), then turn left along the footway. Pass the entrance to a caravan park and, as the road bears around to the left, go through metal gates towards the sea.

From Buckle Car Park, cross the road (Marine Parade) and turn right. In a few paces, turn left through metal gates.

Now turn right along the beach-strewn coast path and past a cafe on the right. To the left, jutting out into the sea, is Newhaven Harbour with its lighthouses. Looking to the right, nestled at the foot of the Downs, is Bishopstone Church.

Continue along this coast path for about half a mile. It will soon be apparent that our route is along the trackbed of an old industrial railway.

2 - At a fingerpost, turn right along a concrete track. This leads between the remains of derelict buildings, once part of the lost village of Tide Mills.

In the latter years of the 18th century, a flour mill driven by tidal power was built near the sea, giving the name to the village which grew around it. Although the mill closed in 1883, the village continued in decline until 1940, when the remaining inhabitants had to move out to make room for defensive purposes following the outbreak of war.

Follow the concrete track and go straight ahead at a fingerpost where the Vanguard Way and Sussex Ouse Valley Way cross. Beyond the ruined buildings, go across the railway with care, using the metal kissing-gates.

Pre-war maps show that Bishopstone Station used to be here along with the Station Master’s house (see information board). After the demise of the village, the station was moved to its present location.

Continue on the concrete track to the main road (A259). Cross with care at the bollards slightly to the right, and turn right. In a few paces, bear left up a steep path with railings. A little farther along, turn left through a twitten to come to an estate road.

Turn right, going past Rookery Way, downhill to a T-junction and turn left. [To the right is the main road where there is a bus stop. Bus users may wish to start the walk from here.]

3 - Go along Bishopstone Road; although there is no footway, there is a wide grass verge on the left. Ignore the footpath on the left immediately past the houses but, in a few paces, go along the footpath through trees which runs parallel to the road.

Rejoin the road, going uphill for about 100 yards, then turn left over a stone stile. Follow the footpath across the field to the corner of buildings.

Go through a kissing-gate, turn right in front of a row of cottages and go along a track. At a fingerpost, turn right up a concrete path. In a few paces, turn left up steps to go across grass to the right of an unusual-looking house and through a wrought-iron gate into the churchyard.

4 - St Andrew’s Church is one of the oldest Saxon churches in Sussex. The main entrance, above which is a sundial, is on the other (south) side, so take a look inside, if open.

Leave the churchyard by the lych gate (to the east) and turn right down to the road. At the sharp right-hand bend, go straight ahead to follow the left-hand of two footpaths across undulating downland.

After passing through three gates in succession, go across a minor road with the unlikely name of Grand Avenue. Cross the next field, then enter a twitten on the edge of a housing estate.

Going downhill, cross three estate roads, then continue uphill through the next twitten. At the end, go straight along Carlton Road, crossing to the left-hand side when convenient.

At the T-junction, go along the twitten directly opposite. Cross three more estate roads, following the twitten as it bears left at first, then right between buildings. On coming to a road, bear right on the second road (Broad Street), going uphill.

At the top, on the right, is The Clinton Centre, a former Victorian United Reformed Church building, now a community centre run by Cross Way, a partnership between the Methodist and United Reformed Churches.

5 - Turn right at the main road (Clinton Place) and cross at the traffic lights, continuing in the same direction. [Seaford Station is directly ahead, if a quick return is desired.]

Turn left into Church Street (there are toilets on the left at the junction with Place Lane, if needed). Straight ahead is St Leonard’s Church, an early Norman building dating from the late 11th century; a landmark in the town with its imposing tower.

Continue down Church Street and, at Steyne Road, turn left. In a few paces, cross at the bollards and go along The Causeway.

At the Esplanade, turn right and, where there is a gap in the sea wall opposite, cross and turn right along the concrete coast path. Looking back (south-east), there is a good view of the imposing Seaford Head. It is not advisable to use this part of the coast path if the sea is extremely rough!

Continue along the sea front for a mile to return to Buckle Car Park or farther along Marine Parade to Bishopstone Station.

  • Distance/Time: Five miles/two and a half hours. Train and bus users may shorten the route by one mile/half an hour, if returning from Seaford Station
  • By Car: Buckle car park (free) in Marine Parade off the A259 at western end of Seaford
  • By Public Transport: Trains to Bishopstone (Lewes to Seaford line). Buses (12/12A) from Brighton and Eastbourne or local services; alight in Marine Parade or at junction of A259 with Bishopstone Road and start from point 3. Timetable information from Traveline: 0871 200 2233 or www.traveline.info
  • What’s underfoot: Mostly hard-surfaced tracks, twittens and minor roads. Some downland paths which may be muddy, if wet; only one easy stile, but two short steep climbs
  • Thirsty Work: The Old Plough, Church Street (adjacent to the parish church); cafes and restaurants in Seaford town centre
  • So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer 123 or Landranger 198. A compass would be useful for general direction

Click here for a full-sized map of the Seaford circular walk