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Eastbourne’s Smuggler’s Walking Festival

Eastbourne’s Smuggler’s Walking Festival gets underway on 17 September and is a great way to explore and discover some of the surrounding countryside as well as the area’s rich heritage. And who isn’t intrigued by this year’s description of the festival as involving, “Smugglers Tales, An Ancient Pilgrimage Path and WWII Aerodrome …”. My boots have been cleaned and are ready to go.

Beachy Head Eastbourne

Intrigue, fresh air and conversation … what’s not to love 

The Eastbourne Walking Festival features more than 50 free walks, which include a spot of mindfulness, as well as Nordic walking, historical outings, nature and even a brand new art trail.  Heritage Manager, Jo Seaman, will guide walkers from the Beachy Head Story through hidden coombes while pointing out archaeological discoveries and popular smugglers’ haunts from the 18th and 19th century.

Eastbourne Walking Festival
Photo credit to Visit Eastbourne

Andrew Durling from Eastbourne Pilgrimage Project, will also be revealing part of the ancient Old Way pilgrimage path to Canterbury while visiting Neolithic sites and the recently excavated Holywell Spring. Other walks will highlight Eastbourne’s strong aviation links including the site of a WWI airship station and a WWII aerodrome, while bronze age burials will be revealed at the idyllic Crowlink.

Eastbourne Walking Festival

Artist Fenya Sharkey will be leading a walk to the brand new Garden of Delights sculpture trail, which features an art trail across seven allotments. Urban walks will also celebrate Eastbourne’s “East End”, Old Town gardens and cemetery, the history of Ratton Estate – the former home of Lord Willingdon and Eastbourne’s “Radical History”.

Eastbourne Walking Festival
Photo credit to Visit Eastbourne

These boots were made for walking 

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture, Cllr Margaret Bannister said, “Walkers have never been more keen to put their best foot forward and our walk leaders have certainly managed to put on a fascinating and varied programme of walks this year, from gentle rambles and strolls along the prom, to challenging hikes across the Downs.”

Eastbourne Walking Festival

Eastbourne’s Smuggler’s Walking Festival runs from 17 – 26 September, walks are free but must be booked in advance.  To book or for more information visit

If you’ve enjoyed this post and like walking, you may enjoy:

The Best Autumn Walks in Sussex

East Sussex Walk: Hastings Country Park

3 Walks at Chanctonbury Ring (West Sussex)

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