Rocks and Pools and Ups and Downs

Luca starts school on Tuesday for the first time and I’ve been overwhelmed by a sense of summer coming to an end. Perhaps for that reason I thought it was time to head off on an adventure again for a last day of doing daddy and Luca things together before he embarks upon 18 years of education and show him more of darkest Sussex.

We went to Camber together two or three weeks back where I tried to stay warm for two hours while Luca played on the sand and the wind blew.  Camber is one of those places where British people go to enjoy themselves despite…

To whit I scryed the interweb for recommendations for the best beaches with rockpools.  I found myself with a choice between driving to Samphire Hoe between Dover and Folkestone and to Hope Gap just east of Seaford and West of the Cuckmere estuary.  The decision was made for me when I read that Samphire Hoe is made up of debris from the Channel Tunnel.  It just sucked the romance out of that idea.

The only problem with Hope Gap was that it isn’t clearly marked on a map and none of the pictures I found gave me much of an idea what it would be like to go rockpooling there.  So it involved a small leap of faith.

The best way to rach Hope Gap is to the end of Chyngton Way in Seaford where it meets Chyngton Lane (don’t try driving down the lane – it’s gated) and head up the concreted track to the top of the hill.  There you’ll find a car park.  Leave the car park by the path to the east (to your left as you drive in) and after you’ve walked a couple of hundred yards down that path keep an eye out to the right for a path leading down into a little valley dotted with gorse bushes (there’s a bench near the top with a few remembrance plaques on).  At the bottom of that path is Hope Gap and a set of steps down to the sea and this is what you’ll find.

I wasn’t disappointed.  It is a wonderful beach for rockpools.  We arrived about two and a half hours after low tide. It was misty and the sun hadn’t broken out so the Seven Sisters were still hazy in the distance.

Luca and I wandered about for a couple of hours looking for small creatures without a great deal of success, but we did have fun trying.

We did however collect lots of interesting rocks.  Well Luca thought they were interesting anyway.  And when we got home we found that we had a stowaway; a tiny crab that must have been hiding in one of the shells we collected.  We’ll have to take it to the local river in the morning to give the little thing a fighting chance.

It was, all in all, a fine way to wrap up the summer holidays. We had fish and chips and drove back via the very enjoyable but rather expensive Drusilla’s.  And in case you were wondering, the panorama of the downs was taken on the Alfriston Road between Alfriston and Seaford.

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