Snippets of the Sea

Go rock-pooling with Rachel

I’ve been in Brighton for 8 years but I never tire of being near the sea. I feel like it draws me in. As a child I adored the seaside, and scrapping about in rockpools at low tide was one of my favourite things to do. I remember my Dad lifting up what seemed like impossibly heavy stones in the deepest part of the rockpools so I could see what little sea creature would be hiding beneath – usually a crab that I would delight in following around until it scurried away into a new hiding place.

I think this is why my favourite place to go in Brighton is the Ovingdean rockpools. I love that whole stretch of the Undercliff walk from the Marina to Saltdean and the cliff top path that runs above it. But my favourite part of the route is seeing the white chalky rockpools at low tide. I feel like I’m in another world when I stare into the pools, full of tiny marine creatures that washed in with the tide and will soon be collected by the waves at high tide and carried away again. It’s a place that mesmerises me, and feeds my imagination.

In the lockdown I would cycle there, lugging my heavy tripod and 16mm camera with me so I could film the pools and the waves beyond. I think I was trying to capture snippets of the sea to take back home and keep. 

Rachel, 2022

Rachels’ story about the rockpools at Ovingdean has been included in the walking tour at Brighton Festival 2022. You can read and listen to the other 11 stories that have been included by clicking here.

You Won’t Want to Leave!

My favourite go-to place is actually on the edge of Brighton and tucked away in the village of Rottingdean.

If you’re starting your walk at Marine Gate, I recommend by-passing the popular Undercliff Walk and instead take the high road and walk along the cliffs. You’ll get a fantastic birds-eye view of the marina, and taking this path you’ll also see the famous Roedean girls school which was founded in 1885 and its where Lady Penelope, heroine from the television series Thunderbirds attended!

Stay on the footpath and next up on your left is the Blind Veterans building which has been at Ovingdean since October 1938.  If you’re in need of refreshment at this point, take the steps leading down from the cliffs and grab a sarnie or slice of cake at Ovingdean Café. 

Once you’ve had your pick-me-up, head back up to the cliffs and continue walking towards Rottingdean village where your next point of interest will be Beacon Hill Nature Reserve (you’ll probably spot some sheep grazing) and the Grade 2 listed Rottingdean windmill, a wonderful looking smock mill dating back from 1802. The windmill has regular open days, generally on a Sunday. 

Check their website and if you’re lucky, you might be able to combine your walk with a visit to the mill.
By now you’ll be on the edge of Rottingdean and not far from your final destination. Cross the road by the White Horse and head round the side of the Tesco Express, here you’ll be in Golden Square, home of The Wash House.

Walk past the Wash House along the narrow pathway and then onto the High Street. There are plenty of independent cafes and shops, so grab yourself a sandwich because you’re nearly at my favourite place and it’s the perfect spot to sit and contemplate.

With the sea towards your back, keep on the High Street and within a couple of minutes, you’ll come to the Kipling Gardens. Head through the gates and perch yourself on one of the benches overlooking the croquet lawns and you’ll also get a bonus view of Rottingdean windmill.

Well done, you’ve found my favourite place and it’s especially enticing when the sun is shining. Take a book and lunch because once you’ve arrived, you won’t want to leave!

Caroline, 2022