Thursday 1 January 2009

Newhaven to Seaford walk

We took a walk from Newhaven to Seaford, via Newhaven Tidemills today. It's a nice walk, once you get past the Newhaven industrial estate at Newhaven Town station. Newhaven Tidemills is the ruin of a village which existed to support the tidal power driven flour mills. The village had about 100 people living there, but the mills went out of business when the railways made it easier for farmers to ship grain elsewhere.

Nevertheless, there is the remain of a railway station at Tidemill, which evidently was dual tracked at one point. Now, a single track runs from Seaford the Newhaven. And there's a second railway track towards Seaford, running about 100 yards south of the current track, but largely paved over.

A lot of work has been done recently to uncover the remains of the old village, which was flattened in 1940 to prevent invading forces from finding cover there.

There's been some talk of building a new tidal power station there, but I don't think it would be of much use. They used to grind 3,500lb of flour a week. More feasible these days would be off-shore tidal stream power stations.

The walk is part of the Sussex Ouse Valley Way. A little way to the north of Tidemills is a new wildlife area - the Ouse Estuary Project - with this rather groovy bird screen overlooking reed beds. We saw a kingfisher, an egret, teals and more.

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