Sussex walk: Rottingdean and Telscombe


- Credit: Archant

This month Hazel Sillver strolls beneath the white cliffs of Rottingdean and over the secluded downland at Telscombe


Other than a pirate attack in 1377, Rottingdean was a sleepy farming community until the 18th century. Gradually more colourful visitors (lured perhaps by the vibrant social scene in nearby Brighton) began to move in. In the late 19th century the painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones bought a holiday home here. His nephew, Rudyard Kipling, stayed in the house as a child and later moved to the village with his wife and children, in 1897. They only lived here until 1902 because Kipling was becoming famous and decided to settle somewhere less conspicuous (Bateman’s, in Burwash, East Sussex). However, there are still traces of him in Rottingdean. You can visit the Kipling Gardens (open daily, entry is free) beside his old house.

For lunch - The White Cliffs Café is en route at stage 2 on the map and serves lunches, such as tapas and burgers. 01273 309357, thewhitecliffsuk.comFor a cream tea - There are several cream tea hotspots on Rottingdean High Street, such as The Olde Cottage 01273 303426,

Good to know

Location: Rottingdean, near Brighton, East Sussex

Distance: 6m (9.6k) – 2.5-3 hours to walk.

Terrain: Hard, stony and grass paths, with a lot of up and down.

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Where to park: In Rottingdean. There are sometimes spaces at stage 14 (outside the school); otherwise head to the car park on the seafront (marked P in blue on the map, near stage 1).


1 From the crossroads of the seafront road (A259) and Rottingdean High Street, head down to the sea. Turn left and walk east along the undercliff walk.

2 After half a mile you will reach the White Cliffs Café. Head into the tunnel beneath it and, on the other side, head right. Cross over the end of Saltdean Park Road and walk along the pavement, alongside the main road (A259).

3 Take the second road on the left (Longridge Avenue). Walk uphill on the pavement.

4 At the top of the road, maintain direction to join the bridleway and head north between fields.

5 After half a mile head right, walking towards a building with a pointy roof.

6 Head left, walking alongside a fenced enclosure with the pointy roof on your right. Then head right (ignoring the path to the house) and just before the cattlegrid, head left. Walk along the edge of fields, going through a series of gates. To your right, there are views of Telscombe village and Mount Caburn.

7 Ignore the track on the left after a quarter mile. Maintain direction, ignoring paths that join from the left and the right, after another half mile.

8 Take the next path on the left. The wide grassy track leads downhill to Pickers Hill Farm.

9 Walk into the farmyard. At the blue doors, head right, taking the wide path that leads uphill along the edge of a field.

10 Go through the gate and continue uphill. Ignore the vague footpath joining from the right and maintain direction. The path will take you through hedgerow.

11 Turn left before the gate, walking along the edge of the field, behind cottages, towards the sea.

12 Go through the gate. Where the way divides, head left.

13 After the stables, the way divides. Maintain direction straight ahead, between fields. At the road, head right. The bridleway splits into two footpaths – take the right hand one, heading downhill. The path eventually dives left.

14 Continue walking through the shady hedgerow and eventually join the road. At the junction, head left. At the High Street, turn left and walk back to the car.


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