Newhaven often seems to get overlooked in favour of its neighbours. I headed there recently to see the Following Ravilious public art trail and this is what else I found.
Background and history
There are lots of information boards around the town with old photographs and QR codes to explain the history of the town. You start to get a picture of paddle steamers, a large hotel for travellers, the development of the harbour and Newhaven’s glory days!
The Arts and Newhaven
I caught the end of the Following Ravilious trail which finishes on the 29th of October. I found three of the four installations and I really hope they keep them in place because they are remarkably evocative set as they are against the backdrop of what is, in places, quite a gritty town.
Newhaven has its own Newhaven Art Projects organisation which is not for profit and a Newhaven Art Space in the High Sreet. They hold regular exhibitions which include the Karla Black exhibition on until December. From the 10th of November, there will also be a new sculpture on display in the library in the town centre. Called Radiant Introvert, it’s a colourful exploration of self-expression and identity created by artist Hanna Benihoud.
Walk along the side of the river towards the marina, and you’ll pass West Quay Fisheries also known as Bickerstaff Fishing Company where you can stock up on your fish and seafood about as fresh as it gets. There happens to be a pub, The Ark, next door. Keep walking and you come to Sussex Food Markets which is a family-run butcher with lots of affordable produce. While you are quayside, spend a moment watching harbour life and enjoying the marina.
Newhaven also has a monthly market (third Saturday of every month) at the Hillcrest centre (there are loads of other things going on the Hillcrest which include a cinema, a café and classes). And if you are hungry, try The Siding, east side of the river, and in a large courtyard in front of an old Victorian warehouse. This is where I also found one of the Ravilious installations.
I already knew Newhaven was on the King Charles III England Coastal Path (well it would be) but it’s also on the Sussex Ouse Valley Way which follows the valley of the River Ouse from its source at Lower Beeding, West Sussex, passes through the South Downs south of Lewes to finish at Seaford Bay. The Vanguard Way starts in East Croydon and ends in Newhaven. Newhaven is also on National Cycle Route 2 running from Dover to St Austell and just south of the South Downs Way, so all in all, a good base for walks and bike rides.
Bear with me …
When I left Newhaven, I drove west along the A259. It’s built up at first, but once you reach Telscombe Cliffs, and provided you’ve timed it to be against the traffic, the views ahead are spectacular. Undulating cliffs edge the sea, and Brighton and beyond reveals itself. The distinctive Art Deco oval of the Saltdean Lido is impressive and the Rottingdean windmill feels like you’ve crossed the Matrix into another time. Admittedly, I drove into the sunset with an array of interesting storm clouds gathering and a gentle haze over the landscape but I muttered, wow, wow, wow, all the way to Brighton!
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