Off the Beaten Track – Cuckmere Haven
Cuckmere haven in East Sussex is flood plain in a small valley where the river Cuckmere enters the sea. It is located between Eastbourne and Seaford and is a popular destination for nature lovers, especially birders. The river Cuckmere meanders through the plain and has created a number of ox-bow lakes, where bends in the river get cut off as the banks erode. Much of the area is grassland which is grazed by sheep and it is rich in wildflowers and is a great habitat with two species of snakes, many mammals and a host of birds, many of them rare visitors to these shores.
It is hard to describe the sheer beauty of Cuckmere Haven and the sense of timeless tranquillity that pervades the area. You have to discover its charms for yourself and experience the atmosphere of the valley.
Access to the valley is from the A529 at the Golden Galleon Public House and the footpath on this side leads you down to the Scrape and beyond to the Severn Sisters chalk cliffs. This is an area of very fine walks through some stunning riverside landscape with lots of wildflowers and a large number of birds and animals. It is becoming a popular place as its reputation is becoming known more widely and it may become a well trodden track rather than a hidden one, but deservedly so.
See it while you can, before it becomes too popular and before it changes. There are no plans to save this lovely area from the sea and now that the old sea defences are becoming ineffective, it is planned to let the sea flood the area to create a salt marsh. Great for birds and the birding fraternity are all for it, but a disaster for everything else and a lot of animals and reptiles will disappear, especially the already endangered adders, grass snakes and slow worms which thrive here presently. It will be some years before it goes but see it while you can.