Thursday, 1 November 2007

What is it about the smell of cow dung?

You either love it or hate it. I have to confess to loving the fragrance of a freshly laid cow pat myself, but I guess that is probably down to my rural upbringing, or maybe I am just wierd (I do love Marmite after all!).

On Monday one of my partner's friends decided to come down from Surrey and pay us a visit. As it was not his first time to Brighton and the weather was so lovely, the 'cow dung lover' in me suggested that we go for a jolly jaunt in the beautiful Sussex countryside that surrounds our wonderful city by the sea!

So with an enthusiasm reminiscent of 'The Famous Five', we set off with our SuperSaver bus tickets (only £4.20) and hopped onto the upper deck of the number 12 from Churchill Square.

The journey along the coast was lovely, as we were bathed by the lovely warm glow of Autumn sunshine. We got off the bus at Exceat (the bus stop is just next to the Seven Sisters Country Park Visitors Centre) and then backtracked a couple of hundred yards by foot to the Golden Galleon pub. From there were took the footpath at the end of the car park that runs parallel to the everso picturesque River Cuckmere. Within a couple of minutes the sounds of the traffic were inaudible, and were were in a haven of bird song, nieghing horses, bleeting sheep and mooing cows. As we walked along the footpath, it was not long before we encounteredd some of our bovine friends. They were just the other side of a wire fence, right next to a sty (I considered climbing over but decided against it, having been traumatised during childhood by the experience of witnessing my auntie Barbara do herself and injustice while trying to cock her leg over a piece of unused carpet that my uncle John had laid across a barbed wire fence!)So, I contented myself with giving Dolly (she reminded me of one of my old neighbours) a rub on the snout as I wallowed in the elixir of her exquisitely scented meadow muffins.

Once I had been dragged away from Dolly, we continued along the path that brought us to the picture postcard cottages that overlook the beach at Cuckmere Haven. Walking up hill past the houses, we took a the left hand footpath that leads along to Hope Gap, from where you get (short of being in a boat or an airplane) by far the best view of the majestic Seven Sisters cliffs. I gloated as my two walking companions sat back in awe at the stunning view.

After 30 minutes of savouring the wonderous sight, we headed back to the bus stop and continued a bit further along the coast to East Dean, from where we walked back to the cliffs at the Birling Gap. Birling Gap is in the middle of the Seven Sisters and at this point you can walk down the metal staircase to access the beach that lies below the cliff face. We continued our walk back along the top of the cliff, passing the Belle Tout lighthouse (which was physically lifted and moved 50 metres inland in 1999 to prevent is from falling into the sea), and ended up at Beachy Head for a glorious view of the sun setting over the sea (they truly are amazing the sunsets in Autumn and Winter). Content with our walking expedition, we headed to the Beachy Head pub for a gammon steak and a pint, before heading back to Brighton with a headfull of wonderful memories from our afternoon strolling along the glorious Sussex coastline and our visitor from Surrey went home with a completey new experience of the area.

Brighton is great, but as with any city sometimes we need to get out and revitalise ourselves. We are so lucky to have the most perfect place in which to do it literally right on our doorstep!

Darren :o)

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