Parks and Outdoor Opportunities

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Abbot’s Wood – a great place for a stroll at any time of year, with walking trails, a medieval lake, play area, barbecues and picnic tables. This ancient woodland is teeming with wildlife. Dormice live in the woodland and the extensive network of paths is home to nearly thirty species of butterfly, including the rare pearl-bordered fritillary. In early spring, the extraordinary song of the nightingale can be heard and summer evenings could reward you with encounters with bats, glow worms and the sound of the elusive nightjar.
All Saints Park – formerly part of the grounds surrounding All Saints Convalescent Hospital built 1867 to 1869. The buildings were redeveloped as luxury flats in 2009 with some land being set aside to create a new public park. In 2012 the park became nominated as a Queen Elizabeth II Field. Lawns planted with narcissi and crocuses are crossed by a network of surfaced paths with several adjacent seats. Numerous young trees will provide shelter and shade when mature and there are several beds of ornamental perennials. There are uninterrupted views of All Saints Chapel, a fine example of High Victorian Gothic architecture built in 1874 which is now a listed building. seating. Please note: there are no toilet or refreshment facilities.

Arlington Reservoir – set in 120 acres of spectacular landscape near Berwick, Arlington is filled with water pumped from the River Cuckmere when river flows are high. The water is then stored in the reservoir before being treated and distributed to customers. The reservoir, which sits below the South Downs and the Long Man of Wilmington, has been designated as a Local Nature Reserve. Arlington has also been classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, thanks to extensive conservation work to improve and protect the habitats of several native species. It is a prized location for bird watchers and visitors who flock to follow the picturesque Osprey Trail. There is a car park.

Birling Gap – stunning views across the sea and along the Seven Sisters cliffs, you can walk, go rock pooling or simply soak up some sunshine at one of England’s prettiest spots. Birling Gap offers bracing walks all year round, and a lovely cafe where you can fill up on scones, tea and sandwiches when you’re finished.

Cuckmere Haven – a great place to explore on foot, by bicycle or by canoe, particularly along the spectacular meanders of the Cuckmere River and is part of the Seven Sisters Country Park.

Cuckoo Trail – a leisure route that can be used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The 11-mile trail runs from Polegate to Heathfield and has a three-mile extension to Shinewater Park, Eastbourne. It passes through some of the district’s most beautiful countryside and is extremely popular with some 250,000 visitors every year.
Being mainly off-road it is suitable and safe for people of all ages and abilities. The slight gradients and sloped accesses make the trail available to most mobility scooters and wheelchairs.

Fisherman’s Green – on the seafront near Treasure Island there are 4 tennis courts and 2 full-size basketball courts in addition to 1 smaller basketball court, a great place for a set or two of tennis before shooting some hoops.

Friston Forest – a lovely beech wood with plenty of waymarked routes for walkers and mountain bikers as well as bridleways. It’s a great place to visit, with lots of picnic tables and BBQs and a children’s play area. For more information visit https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/woods/friston-forest/

Gildredge Park – café (seasonal), toilets, lawns for informal activities, playground, bowls, tennis public and private (groups are recommended to book), picnic tables and seats, bike racks near bowls club parking. Broad lawns for informal recreation are sheltered by several mature tree belts. There is a children’s playground on the higher edge of the park and also Gildredge Park Bowls Club and tennis courts operated by Tennis in the Park.

Hampden Park – Sports and recreation facilities include those for football, rugby, cricket, indoor and outdoor bowls, tennis, children’s playground and BMX skate facility. The northern part of the Park has a large lake, shady lawns and extensive area of semi-natural woodland. A café is located in the centre of the Park with adjacent toilets open all year during busiest hours. Both indoor and outdoor bowling arrangements should be checked with the clubs. Open all year. Free admission. Free parking along ornamental drive through Park or at one or other of two free car parks. Bus stop at Park entrance in Decoy Drive. Hampden Park railway station 10-minute walk. A path suitable for wheelchairs circuits the lake.

Harbour Walk – The Waterfront, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 5UZ. The biggest composite Marina in Northern Europe, Sovereign Harbour is a great walk with stunning yachts, wildlife and five harbours and beaches to explore. This walk explores the inner and outer harbours, lock gates and beach at Langney Point, whilst also giving a glimpse of the North, West and South harbour. Starting at the free car park by the North Harbour, this walk takes approximately one hour or longer if you wish to explore the other harbours. For recommended starting points and routes visit www.visiteastbourne.com

The Helen Garden – Above the cliffs overlooking the sea at the western end of the seafront with magnificent views towards the pier and plenty of seating (suitable for wheelchair access). Broad lawns for informal activities and flower beds provide year-round interest. There is also an excellent show of spring daffodils. In 2012 the garden became nominated as a Queen Elizabeth II Field. There is a children’s playground, an 18-hole putting green, and a petanque court. It is also home to St John’s Bowling Club. A kiosk (open from Easter to September) serves light refreshments and adjacent toilets are open all year.

The Italian Gardens – originated in the early twentieth century when an old chalk quarry was landscaped. Several Italianate buildings were built in the 1920s that remain today. These include some small rose arbours and a larger shelter. In 2012 the garden became nominated as a Queen Elizabeth II Field. The garden is a delightful sun trap with seating and a central lawn area below banks of mature trees. Café on the promenade below, toilets on the promenade below. The path from the seafront down to the Italian Gardens is steep and unsuitable for wheelchair users.

Motcombe Gardens – compact garden with a pond that is the source of the Bourne Stream from which Eastbourne derives its name. Sheltered lawns for picnicking and an adjacent bowls club are overlooked by a historic circular dovecote. Parking is available only on the adjacent road. Eastbourne railway station 20-minute walk. Old Town buses serve routes nearby. Main paths are suitable for wheelchair access. There are no toilets on site.

Old Town Recreation Ground – occupies a sheltered, east facing cove on the lower slopes below the South Downs. The highest parts of the ground give wide views across the rooftops of Eastbourne towards Pevensey Bay and Hastings. There are seats available around the field. A playground for toddlers and juniors is modern and well equipped with its own enclosure. Football pitches occupy a large part of the area and are used by minor league teams during the season. A small number of tennis courts are available for informal use on a first-come-first-served basis. Newly planted trees provide shade and there are some beds planted with species to attract bees and other insects. Children’s playground, tennis courts, lawn areas for casual recreation, football pitches, toilets, attractive shrub beds and ornamental trees

Princes Park – the central feature of the park is a large artificial lake where model yachts and powerboats are often raced by two resident clubs. Many swans and other birds gather here including some unusual migratory species. Lakeside terraced paths are provided with seating and there are lawns with flower beds and some picnic tables. A children’s playground is located at each end of the lake A café and toilets are available in the centre of the park and a bowls club occupies greens nearby. BN22 7LL

The Peace Garden
In the dry moat of the Wish Tower on the seafront, this small garden has a gravel path (suitable for wheelchair users) around which is a series of raised flower beds designed to provide year-round interest. There is some seating, and the centrepiece is a large granite boulder which is a memorial to the 180 civilians who lost their lives in the Second World War and whose names are engraved on a steel plaque. It’s next to Bistro Pierre.

Seven Sisters Country Park – situated in the South Downs National Park, the park is made up of 280 hectares of chalk cliffs, meandering river valley and open chalk grassland. It is a popular place for a number of outdoor activities including walking, bird watching, cycling, canoeing and paddleboarding. Or you can simply take in the surroundings and relax at Saltmarsh cafe and rooms, located behind the visitors centre. Please note: There are sheep and cows in the park. Responsible dog walkers are very welcome at Seven Sisters Country Park but recently there have been numerous attacks on our animals and so please keep dogs on leads. Thank you for your cooperation.

Shinewater Park – Facilities include a children’s playground, BMX and skate park, all-weather multi-use court and field for informal sports use. These facilities are set on the eastern side of lakes and landscaping that have the character of a country park including distant views of the South Downs. Fishing is allowed on one lake by permit only from the Pike Angling Club. The other lake is reserved for wildlife. Parking available in nearby roads. Served by numerous buses with stops in Larkspur Drive. Hampden Park railway station two-thirds of a mile to the east. National Cycle Network route 21 runs through the Park. Wheelchair access on level and surfaced paths to all parts of the Park. There are no toilets on site.

South Downs Way – why not walk or cycle the South Downs Way? The route stretches for 90 miles between Eastbourne and Winchester, taking in picturesque villages and stunning scenery. It is suitable for walkers, horse riders and mountain bikes. The Downs around Eastbourne are recognised as an area of outstanding natural beauty. The dramatic 530 feet high cliffs of Beachy Head give stunning views over the Eastbourne and the English Channel. The South Downs Way is 161 kilometres long. There are two start points both on the outskirts of Eastbourne. The coastal route from Eastbourne to Alfriston is for walkers only and is 17.5 kilometres. The inland route is the bridleway section and runs from Eastbourne to Alfriston via Jevington. This section is 12 kilometres long.

Sovereign Park – aims to preserve some of the shingle beach habitats that were once common along the south coast until the increase in urban development and other pressures. There is a picnic site equipped with tables at the west end of the Park. The central and east areas are left as semi-natural habitat and access is available but not encouraged due to trampling damage of the flora present. A refreshment kiosk is open at the east end during the season. Parking is on adjacent road or Sovereign Leisure Centre pay and display. Served by several nearby bus routes. Two and a half miles from Eastbourne railway station. National Cycle Network route 21 runs near the Park with a cycle path on the adjacent promenade. Wheelchair access along surfaced paths around the perimeter of the central. Prince William Parade, Eastbourne, BN22 7LQ.

** Please note: some facilities such as toilets and cafes may be closed due to Covid-19**