Parking Information for the South Downs Coast, Sussex
There is a free car park on Seaford Head in the Seaford Head Nature Reserve which is not easy to find. The overall position of South Hill Barn Car Park is shown on this map and more detail is shown on this Map Access is NOT possible down Chyngton Lane which is an unsurfaced private road but you should go via Chyngton Way and the road opposite Chyngton Lane marked with dotted lines is the road to the car park. There are no signs at all at the bottom end of this road to indicate that there is a car park at the top and it does look like a private road but that is the right way.
Cuckmere Haven and the Seven Sisters
You can walk down from the Seaford Head Car Park, detailed above, to the beach at Cuckmere Haven but access to the Seven Sisters will require that you get your feet wet wading through the Cuckmere River which flows across the beach but only practicable at low tide. For other Cuckmere Haven Car Parks see the Cuckmere Haven page.
The Seven Sisters and Birling Gap
There is a free car park at Birling Gap right by the sharp U-bend in the road although I understand that the National Trust, who own the car park, intend to introduce parking charges. ( Map). This will give access to the Seven Sisters to the west, Cuckmere Haven is a 3.5 mile walk in the same direction, and Beachy Head 2 miles to the east along the cliff top. There are other car parks between Birling Gap and Beachy Head but you will have to pay for those and they're not cheap (See Beachy Head below).
There is also a free car park on the south side of East Dean on Gilbert's Drive which runs into Birling Gap Road. It is about a mile walk from there on a public footpath to the coast.
There are a number of small car parks on both sides of the road from Birling Gap to Beachy Head ( Map). all of which are Pay & Display. The charges were, at the time of our visit, 80 pence for 30 minutes, £1.40 for up to 2 hours, £2.70 for up to 4 hours and £3.90 for over 4 hours. These car parks are run by Eastbourne Borough Council and charges apply to visitors only as local residents can park free. Perhaps Eastbourne Borough Council are running a 'fleece the visitors' campaign - the phrase 'highway robbery' springs to mind. Since these charges were introduced there has been a marked increase in parking on the roadside verges - I wonder why?.
The above information is based on our visit to the South Downs in September 2007.