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My walk from West St Leonards station to Bexill station
6th August 2009

 My plans for a day out today didn't go exactly as I planned it, but it turned out to be better than my original plan. The original plan was to walk from West St Leonards railway station along the coast for about a mile and a half. That would take me to The St Leonards railway depot where I hope I might see something of interest. At that point I also planned to have a paddle in the sea,  and then to walk back and grab a pint of beer (or two) before getting the train home again. What actually happened was I carried on walking along the sea front until I turned inland to get to Bexhill railway station. From there I caught the train back to St Leonards Warrior Square station. I had 20 minutes to wait before the next London bound train, and I called into The Victoria Bar pub for a cool refreshing beer, and the use of their toilets.

View The sea route in a larger map

[ note added 10th August 2009 : Google estimates my walk to be 3.2 miles. Plotting the same walk on an Ordnance Survey map, Landranger series, map 199, it would seem that my walk was actually 4.5 miles.  - closer to how it felt.]

 Having consulted the tide tables I knew it was just about high tide when I reached the sea. That was unfortunate, and made my walk just a little less interesting.
Looking towards Hastings from St Leonards
Above is my first view of the beach looking along the coast towards Hastings.
Below is the view from the same place looking towards Bexhill.
Looking West from St Leonards towards Bexhill

 Much of this walk was done on shingle, and that often made the going quite hard. The total distance I walked was around 3.2 miles, but it felt much further. Off in the distance, in the picture above, are some cliffs. These were to be the first ones I have encountered close up on my new travels.

 After trudging through the shingle for some time I reached the St Leonards railway depot, and the bridge that I incorrectly assumed crossed over the depot, and hoped would provide a good vantage point to see the Heritage diesel electric multiple unit train that lives there. I did catch a glimpse of a tiny bit of it through two rows of fencing, and into the gloom of the depot shed, but I didn't attempt to photograph it.
The railway line running parallel to the seashore
The depot is just out of view on the right hand side of the railway lines as they run parallel to the seashore.

A train passes the depot
A class 171 diesel electric multiple unit passes the railway depot on it's way to Brighton.

Looking back towards St Leonards from the bridge across the railway
Looking slightly to the right of the previous picture to where I started my walk
(The white buildings on the far horizon)

approaching the cliffs
As I continued to walk the cliffs became closer

The cliffs
The cliffs here are not particularly impressive. I estimate the height of them here to be around 30 feet.

passing under the cliffs
The cliffs do get a bit higher, maybe 40 feet, or a little more. It's not very dramatic, but there is some stratification visible.
I am not sure of the technical term, but I would say they are mostly made of a soft mudstone.
It is soft and crumbly, and warning signs warn of rock falls.
Fallen rock
I did come across one such fall that would have given someone a considerable headache if it had fallen on them.

A supermarket trolley at the base of the cliffs
It's not only rock that falls from these cliffs !
close up on shopping trolley logo
Of course it had to be a Tesco's tolley !

 It was soon after passing the shopping trolley that I had my paddle in the sea. The waves were rushing up the beach very quickly, and very variably too ! My new shorts really came into their own for this tomfoolery. Several waves came almost up to my kneecaps, and some of their spray did get the bottom of my shorts a bit damp. However one thing that is apparent in my pictures was that it was actually a glorious day. The sun shone for most of the time, and it was quite hot. I had a lot of trouble with sweat pouring into my eyes from time to time. I suspect it was the sun blocker that I had applied to my face that made the sweat really sting when it got into my eyes.
standing in the sea
Standing in the sea looking inland

While standing in the sea, with waves crashing around my legs, I took a little video of the waves. I can't be bothered to try and embed the video in this web page, but if you click on the link here something might open to show you the short video.

 Once I had finished getting wet I dried my feet, and transferred back into my dry walking shoes to continue my walk to Bexhill.

Getting near Bexhill
Bexill approaches

  I was quite glad that I was nearing Bexhill. Trudging across all the shingle was quite wearing. It was also very hard work climbing up from the beach after my paddle. You can see in the picture above just how steep the shingle is to climb. For every foot you raise yourself you sink back 6 inches, and the whole thing turns into a mad scramble just to get up to the pathway - and I did that 3 or 4 times !

 I had visions of the beach at Bexhill being sandy, and maybe it was when the tide was lower, but all I saw was just more shingle. It was quite a relief to get onto the tarmac promenade for my last bit of walking along the shore at Bexhill.

sailing at Bexhill
Sailing seems to be quite popular at Bexhill
Boats at Bexhill
Assorted craft on the beach at Bexhill

 Although Bexhill may not be able to boast of broad sandy beaches, well not at hogh tide it can't, it is still quite popular. It's beaches may not be crowded like those at, say, Brighton, but there were plenty of people there to enjoy the sunshine. Once upon a time it must have been a truly elegant place, and once you get past the ugly appartment blocks on the outskirts of the town, the old town still retains some of that old world elegance.
Elegant houses along the sea front at Bexhill
Once upon a time these houses would probably have belonged to rich Edwardians (or similar)
Since then they have probably been boarding houses, and I suspect now they are just divided into flats.

Elegant shelter on the sea front
Another bit of olde world elegance on the sea front at Bexhill

 By the time I had reached the centre of the Bexhill sea front I was definitely feeling the strain of the long walk. I expect I could have gone a lot further, but with the end in sight......
Sign pointing the way to Bexhill station
..... I felt like I had had almost enough. It was a couple of hundred yards, and slightly uphill to the station, but the worst was yet to come. I had not planned to be at Bexhill station, and so I had no idea what time the trains were. It turned out that I had mere minutes to buy a ticket before I had to run to the platform and jump on the train. From there on my journey home was relatively relaxing, but I felt knackered when I got home, and now nearly five hours later, I still feel knackered, and I am very much looking forward to hitting the save button, and going to bed.