/ Eastbourne to Brighton via South Downs
Also is the whole thing doable by 2 fit walkers during daylight if we set off from Eastbourne Station by 9am?
Was considering shortening by not bothering with Alfriston and instead heading to Seaford then along the coast to Brighton but that won't be as interesting so would like to stick to original plan.
Definitely follow the SDW to go over Firle Beacon from Alfriton to get to Southease. In total that's about 18 miles (hard miles) from Eastbourne. Be sure to follow the coastal SDW and not the alternative inland. From there it's about 17 miles to Devils Dyke which would be the natural finishing point for an Eastbourne to Brighton walk but that's another 17 miles and again, hard miles. 30 miles is too many I reckon although it depends how fit you are.
You could shorten it and go in the eastern end of Brighton straight from Southease (itford farm).
The coast road isn't much fun. Why do you want to get to Brighton?
Fair enough. If Brighton is the plan, I personally think you're trying to squeeze too much into the day to enjoy it. I'd leave the seven sisters for another day and walk some of the downs around Brighton instead.
Devil's Dyke, Blackcap, Wolstonbury etc...
Get the train to Hassocks and go from there.
It's not much of a pub crawl along the coast road! Enjoy Brighton, it's certainly an experience. Also, SDW is pretty muddy at the minute.
I was on Firle Beacon last Wednesday. The mud on the tops wasn't too bad, although the ground is heavily poached where the way constricts around gates etc, and it was very wet and muddy on the approches. This will slow you down as wet chalk is like a scateing rink.
Your biggest problem at this time of the year will be daylight. If you set out at 9am you will have about 7 hours only. We dropped off down to Firle arriving at the car there by 4.20pm by which time it was nearly dark. Also the cloud came down and it started to pour with rain which didn't help navigation and made the light very poor from about 3pm onwards.
What we may well do is just finish at Southease and get the train - takes the pressure off, avoids the long walk along the coast and gives us some time for a decent lunch in Alfriston.
Not sure if this is any use but I did cuckmerehaven parking to beachy head and back again in day light hours and was back to the car at 2:30pm (started early 8:30ish am AFAIK), I wasn't rushing and stopped a few times.
I recently did 20 miles along the south downs from brighton to worthing in 7 hours, but I only stopped for 15 mins the whole way.
At a guess I'd say your planned walk from Lewes to Eastbourne is a similar length to my walk to worthing (20 miles), I'd say if you are going well it will take 7 hours.
I'd estimate nearer 30 than 25 miles. Reckon on 3 miles an hour max. I'd leave 9-10 hours.
I just checked it (fairly quickly) on bing OS maps, I think it is probably over 20 but not by much pretty sure it will be less than 25 miles. Allow 8 hours if you are fit and don't hang about.
Consensus is somewhere close to 23.5 miles
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