Seaford, East SussexSeaford is a small but pleasant East Sussex seaside town, favoured by holiday makers.
Seaford town is well placed for people who want to enjoy the beauty of the Cuckmere Valley, the Ouse Valley and the Seven Sisters as well as the magical South Downs.
Places of interest around SeafordInteresting places in and around Seaford include:
- Tide Mills a derelict village built by the Duke of Newcastle at Bishopstone in 1761 around water mills which harnessed the wave energy in the Ouse Estuary to grind corn
- The Seven Sisters Country Park takes in some of the most beautiful countryside in southern England. There's a visitor centre at Exceat, a mile east of Seaford;
- Seaford Head Nature Reserve is a beautiful cliff top spot and a place from which to see the iconic view of the Seven Sisters;
- Martello Towers strung along the East Sussex coast near Seaford
- The Litlington White Horse carved in the hillside in 1924 overlooking the Cuckmere Valley;
- The Vanguard Way makes its way along Seaford sea front.
Seaford HistorySeaford gets its first mention in Saxon times, but not much is known about what the place was like then.
But Seaford enjoyed relative prosperity in the middle ages as a result of its position at the mouth of the River Ouse. Seaford became a senior limb of the Cinque Port of Hastings, although French raids in the 14th century caused Seaford folk considerable hardship and the town often had trouble paying its taxes.
The River Ouse used to reach the sea further east than it does today, with the mouth of the river sheltered by a large bar of shingle put in place by the process of longshore drift. Seaford was opposite the mouth of the Ouse.
A huge storm in the 1539 breached the shingle bar further west near the village of Meeching - it was decided that this was a far better river mouth and so nature's work was reinforced by the man-made New Cut, giving rise to the emergence of the port of Newhaven as a better-placed rival to Seaford.
One by product of this work was to make the Ouse Valley much better drained - the valley had previously been very prone to flooding.
In the 17th and 18th centuries Seaford became a relatively poor place, best known for its reputation as a town of ship wreckers and bounty hunters. Naturally, this being East Sussex, smuggling was rife. In 1824 another great storm caused great flooding in the south western part of Seaford. Another storm in 1865 swept away the sea wall which had been built only ten years earlier.
In Edwardian times Seaford's undoubtedly attractive location gave it a temporary shot in the arm as gentille tourists, brought from London by the new railway, started to arrive to sample the bracing sea air. But Seaford never really took off as a holiday destination in the way that Brighton or Eastbourne did, partly because it looks straight into the teeth of whatever wind happens to be blowing along the English Channel.
In the twentieth century much of the land in Seaford was taken up with boarding schools, but as these closed or moved away, large scale housing development built the town of over 25,000 residents which Seaford has now become.
© East Sussex.org 2008-10.
Sunday January 19