My favourite nature spots in Brighton!
One of my favourite things about living in Brighton is that we get to have it all – city, coast, and nature all in one place. Brighton is surrounded by beautiful places to go walking, biking and hiking, but I’ve selected my top two for this article and put them on a map so you can visit the same spots I love.
Seaford Head and Cuckmere Haven
This is my absolute favourite hiking spot near Brighton. I normally take the number 12 bus (runs between Brighton and Eastbourne, so it’s accessible from both locations!) and take a long walk down from the Cuckmere Inn bus stop along the river to the small Cuckmere Haven beach, where I’ll stop for lunch and have a rest. Then I’ll walk along the Seaford Head cliffs back to Seaford town to catch the bus back (from a different stop to the one I got off at). Sometimes I’ll stop at Hope Gap along the way, another secret beach location that’s only accessible at low tide! Or when the tide’s high, I’ll spend some time on Seaford beach, resting after the long walk. The entire walk can take up to two hours, but it’s so worth it. It can also be done in reverse with a view of Seven Sisters cliffs in the background for most of the walk – I recommend trying both directions because they both have spectacular views. This walk is also accessible by train to Seaford station, you’ll just have to walk to the Cuckmere Inn from the station which adds an extra half hour or so.
Friston Forest is also a beautiful place to go walking, and there’s also mountain biking paths. It’s a huge forest so I normally make that my sole destination for the day, but it’s also close to the Cuckmere Inn bus stop so if you’re a super keen walker you could hit Friston Forest, Cuckmere Haven and Seaford Head all in one day. Near the bottom of the forest, there’s also a great view of the river leading down to Cuckmere Haven, which I’ve added to the map.
Visit Brighton’s best nature spots for yourself!
Clockwise from left:
- Seaford beach – similar in some ways to Brighton beach, but much quieter and has more of a village feel. A great spot to do all the things you’d normally do on Brighton beach, but with less people! You could even make this your destination for the day if you’d like a quieter swim or sunbathe.
- View of the Cuckmere River from the bottom of Friston Forest – notice the Cuckmere Inn near here on the middle map too, this is where the number 12 bus stops.
- Friston Forest – so vast it needed its own separate map!
- Cuckmere Haven – a little known, beautiful, quiet pebble beach spot, where the Cuckmere River meets the sea, perfect for stopping halfway through the walk and having a rest or a picnic.
- View of the Seven Sisters Cliffs – I took this picture from the cliffs above Hope Gap, but the Seven Sisters cliffs themselves are on the other side of the Cuckmere River, towards Eastbourne (see the bottom right of the middle map). You can walk on top of the Seven Sisters cliffs to Birling Gap, Beachy Head, or even Eastbourne, but that’s another walk that could take a full day itself. On the walk I do, Seven Sisters just sits in the background providing an amazing view.
- Hope Gap – truly a secret beach, this place doesn’t even come up on Google maps and is only accessible at low tide! If you’re into bouldering, there are also some natural boulders between Cuckmere Haven and Hope Gap that you can climb on at low tide – at your own risk of course, they can be slippery due to the water and seaweed!
This is just one small section of the absolutely vast South Down National Park that surrounds Brighton. Other popular local spots include Wild Park, Ditchling Beacon and Devil’s Dyke, so there’s loads of opportunities to get out and explore the local natural beauty!
Word from the uni…
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