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Cuckmere Haven 15-16 April 2009

 

     

 

The Coastguard Cottages at Cuckmere Haven, with the backdrop of the Seven Sisters is the best-known image of the area. The area is part of the Seaford Head Nature Reserve.

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Outside the Coastguard Cottages is a history of the buildings, and a plea from the council for the government to protect the cliff to stop their own defences being outflanked. There is also a view of the beach, right.

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The beach is a disappointment for those wishing to view natural processes, as the higher level has clearly been bulldozed! The views to the Seven Sisters compensate!

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The Cuckmere River with the tide in. The swell pushes mini-bores up the channel, much to the delight of children playing in the area! The drift of shingle beach material must need constant dredging to maintain the channel.

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The south side of the river's mouth leads to Short Cliff and a view of the defences mentioned on the board. Some rip-rap has been added to the original concrete defences but, as the photo on the right shows, erosion continues.

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Hope Gap is at the foot of two small sea-facing dry valleys, Cliff Bottom and Hope Bottom, where a footpath connects back to the car park on the top of South Hill.

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16 April

 

 

Some brightness prompted a return to the Cuckmere River, and a search for viewpoints of the meanders.

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A walk to Cliff End along the South Downs Way leads to views over the wetlands behind the beach barrier, and over the river to the Coastguard Cottages.

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On Cliff End the sun came out! Even so, not full sunshine, which is probably no bad thing with white chalk to photograph! The erosion pattern around the stile is notable, as is the wave cut platform in the centre shot.

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Views from Cliff End over the barrier beach ad lower valley.

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The relationship between the shingle being moved by longshore drift, and the flow of the river, comes out in the left and right photos; in the centre is Short Cliff and Hope Gap - and the wave-cut platform.

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Material from the shingle of the barrier beach, left, has been pushed seaward by the river to form a delta, centre. The sign asking walkers not to descend here appears to have produced the opposite effect!

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The extent of the barrier beach and its landward face, centre. Coming off the chalk is definitely a route confined to dry weather; even the regular route is quite steep!

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With Short Cliff and Hope Gap on the opposite, southern shore, some views of the beach. The centre shot shows the beach material on the ridge line.

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Cliff End from the beach, which gives way to flat rocks some distance along the coast.

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The river channel at low tide shows it can be crossed, and also shows its route between the shingle that has accumulated between the wooden railings.

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The lower river course has extensive shingle banks some distance upstream, centre, whilst the reinforcements to the banks have evidently taken a battering and are in need of repair, left.

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Spring comes to the lagoon.

 

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Sussex South Downs Way Cuckmere Haven Coastguard Cottages rivers coasts barrier beaches cliffs defences meanders chalk shingle wave-cut platform footpath erosion lagoons

 

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