At Hope Gap hopes are realised where the South Downs meet sea. Low tide reveals the rock pooled shore ready for small adventurers to explore. Dipping between cliffs we shuffle down steep steps to trip about on chalky flint and fossils.
Grown ups take quiet time to sit uncomfortably on rocks and stare – at Seven ancient Sisters seeing their bright white faces in sea so still it barely laps the shore. The intertidal playground pulls younger girls to tread the seaweed slippy rocks – soaking socks and shoes in salt.
With the tide still down we stumble round crumblings of Cretaceous cliffs, tramping over ancient shapes in stone, to the canal carved two hundred years ago that takes the Cuckmere river to the sea. This channel is caving in as cuts and climate conspire to change the water course.
A sea-change is set to come within the haven. The human hands that formed the current view are due to leave the storms and winds and tide to shunt the shingle – making meadows into marsh.
Heading back up hill we gaze on geese that graze by the meanders – that morph with wind and rain and tide. We walk now on chalk that was once the den of dinosaurs – and may soon be reclaimed by the sea.