River Cuckmere

River Cuckmere

LaunchesPublic RoutesKnown HazardsParking


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River Licensing Information

Licence Required?

No licence required

Flowing through East Sussex, the River Cuckmere provides a gentle paddle from source to sea. Rising near Heathfield in East Sussex, it reaches the English Channel at Cuckmere Haven.

There are several reasons why you might head to the River Cuckmere for a gentle afternoon paddle.

The river meanders through the South Downs in its own picturesque, tranquil valley. It flows past sheep-grazed landscapes with Norman churches and lush meadows, giving you a glimpse into the medieval history of the area.

The mouth of the river flows close to the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, which are a beautiful spot to end your paddle especially at sunset.

Wildlife on the River Cuckmere

The Cuckmere valley, which you will paddle through, is also a special nature reserve and site of special scientific interest.

During high water levels in the winter there are lots of wildfowl to be spotted. These include teal, wigeon and the ever present Canadian goose. Grey heron and little egret are found all year, and nest in the trees of nearby Friston Forest.

The Cuckmere River is valuable to migrant birds such as the Redstart and Ringed Ouzel.

Also look out for butterflies. The warm climate makes the area ideal for the Chalkhill Blue, Dark Green Fritillary, Marbled White, and Adonis Blue, which feed on the Horseshoe Vetch.