17 March 2016
Having seen a favourable weather forecast I decided to revisit a venue I last visited a couple of years ago. This was Cuckmere Haven on the East Sussex coast. I set off from Essex at 5am and arrived in the early morning light soon after 7am. Having parked at South Hill Barn free car park I walked east to Cuckmere Haven. I soon realised that it was too early for a good view of the Seven Sisters cliffs as the sunlight from the east left the cliffs in the shade and did not reveal their white colour at all well. However, I did enjoy walking about the beach taking photographs of the net-swathed groynes as the tide receded. Quite why the damaged nets are so abundant here I do not know. I have never seen so many on a beach in the UK before. After a while I left Cuckmere, with the intention of returning later in the day.
I then travelled the 5 miles by road to Birling Gap to coincide my arrival with the falling tide. Parking in the National Trust car park (free to members) I was surprised to see three coaches parked there. The coaches regularly disgorge foreign visitors who take a look at the view, quickly tour the NT shop and promptly return to the coach to resume their whistlestop tour of England. They do not get in the way of photographers.
I climbed down the 50 step metal staircase to the beach and, after clambering over the shingle beach, spent an enjoyable 90 minutes taking photographs of the white cliffs, chalk pavement like slabs, and the golden sands revealed at low tide. This is a very photogenic area.
After a brief visit to Beachy Head to renew my acquaintance with the two lighthouses, I ate my sandwich lunch, drunk my tea, and then drove back to Cuckmere Haven. It was about 2pm when I arrived and the light was now much better as the sun was reflecting admirably off the chalk white cliffs. After the easy walk down to the coastguard cottages I spent the next hour or so searching out the most favourable spots for capturing the cottages in the foreground and the cliffs in the background.I show here my favourite viewpoint in both colour and mono. I think I actually prefer the mono version.
I shall have to return here one day when the tide is in and a storm is brewing in order to show a wilder sea.
This is certainly a view well worth any photographer seeking out. I recommend coming here during the autumn, winter and possibly spring. I should imagine that it would be too crowded in the summer months.