Saturday 27th August I took a bus to just east of Newhaven and walked the 4 or 5 miles along the shingle beach to the seaside town of Seaford. The walk is along the old course of the river Ouse which used to be forced to run parallel to the coast, eastwards, by the movement of shingle west to east along the seashore. This mass of moving material effectively stopped the river reaching the sea by its short north to south route, forcing it to remain behind a shingle bank as it flowed east, until it could break through at Seaford. No doubt it would have been flowing through and over a mass of shingle, making it easy to ford the river beside the sea. Not much good as a port though, so when engineers built a concrete wall out into the sea it allowed them to dredge a new direct channel to the sea, protected from the shingle movement. What to call this new port or safe harbour? How about Newhaven?
The old river course would fill and empty twice a day with the tides, so structures were built across it to use the energy of the moving water (mainly at low tide when the flow out could be better controlled) to turn waterwheels to grind cereals. Little remains now, but one of the dams is below, seen from the upriver side.
The site was finally abandoned in 1939, and Canadian troops occupied the area, and other part were used for training. No doubt it was cleared to allow defenses to be installed. There is still archaeological excavation going on, and I saw two places where old walls and rooms were being revealed.
The above picture shows a disused railway line which is on the seaward side of the shingle, with Seaford in the distance. The main railway is on the landward side of the old river, seen below.
Got to the Bay Tree pub (under new management) to find seven beers in the garden, including Hylder Blonde from Dark Star, Longman APA, and a Downland brewery porter. Also met Badger a guy I’ve not seen for years, who entertained me with tales of beers, landlords and even mutual friends.