A Survey Of The South Coast, Or Some Of It.

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Simon, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. Simon

    Simon Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    287
    Likes Received:
    423
    Location:
    Ramsgate, Kent
    Just got back from a week away. We stayed at our usual site in the New Forest, Setthorns, for five nights and the weather was... well, changeable. I really could do without the unpredictability of our weather. When we left the site, instead of hurtling (hah!) home on the motorways as usual, we decided to investigate the south coast at a leisurely pace, heading back towards home in Thanet.

    First stop was Bognor Regis. We parked up at one of the Google map 'stars' I'd investigated on Streetview before we left. King's Parade, right beside Marine Park Gardens. We thought we'd get the dogs out for an explore and found a sign at the garden's entrance: "No dogs". Well, bugger. Somebody strolled by, inside the park, with a dog so we ninja'd through it to Marine Drive West and then onto the promenade. After a walk and a good look at the pebbly beach we got back to the bus and drove along the seafront as much as we could, then ended up driving past Butlins whilst looking for somewhere interesting to stop again. That never happened, unfortunately, but we did see a massive jobcentre, which was quite impressive, and we saw lots of general run-down tattiness, so we just kept going.

    Next stop was Marine Drive in Goring-by-sea. What a lovely place to stop. Big expanses of grass, lots of fellow motorhomers, families enjoying the sunshine, and the sea right beside us. I'd read that this was a good place to overnight so we decided that after a bit of an explore of Worthing we'd come back and spend the night here. I had a couple of other 'stars' to investigate down that way: Marine Parade and Worthing pier. There was a funfair on Marine Parade, making it difficult to park up anywhere, so we thought we'd explore that later, on the way back to our sleep spot, and I decided to drive on up to Devil's Dyke while we were out that way.

    Devil's Dyke: WOW!! Just...wow. Amazing place, amazing view. Massively steep hills on the way, mind, but the view is worth every strained rev. We had a good look about and decided that this would be the place to stop for the night, not Goring. I'd read that people had wild-camped here before so it should be fine, yes? No, apparently not now. I don't remember the date of the internet thing I read but it was obviously well before the National Trust had put signs all over the place, even on the rough, unfinished car park, saying "NO OVERNIGHT PARKING, YOU EVIL SCUM! NOT EVEN IF YOU PAY THE PARKING FEE, SO SOD OFF!", or words to that effect. Massive disappointment as we didn't want to risk a fine and there was nobody else overnighting there. I asked a nice woman in a VW bus who turned up to walk her dog. She said she knew of people who *had* parked there overnight but said it might be risky. As I really didn't fancy driving down from there in the middle of the night after being told to go away by an overzealous insomniac National Trust employee, we sadly slunk off back down to Hove to investigate the place in Hove that the nice lady had told us about.

    It was, she said, behind the King Alfred leisure centre, which is, by some accounts I had read previously too, the place to stay for the discerning tight motorhomer. No, it's not, it's the place for a motorhome graveyard and yet more tramps, complete with carpeted benches in the shelters, hiding scant belongings tucked underneath. Bugger me, but it was awful. I'm aware that this sounds like a horror story but it was all quite entertaining, despite evening drawing in now, and spirits were still high. Not as high as that tramp's underpants, but still pretty good.

    At this point it was a toss-up between driving all the way back to Goring or investigating two potential sleepy spots in Brighton. Off back to Brighton then, as it was closer. OMG. The homeless people in sleeping bags on the main seafront, although not actually doing anything offensive, were slightly off-putting, as was the mad busy-ness and tatty dirtiness of the whole place, and the apparent anger and impatience of most drivers. This was all enough to instantly put us off the place completely. By this time we realised we were starving and as we couldn't find anywhere to even slow down in Brighton, let alone stop, we quickly set the sat nav, at some traffic lights, for the nearest McDonalds. We managed to park the bus just outside (Amazing! I was thinking we'd have to use the drive-thru), bought some food without getting killed, raped or robbed, and scuttled off to the nearest place we knew we'd be able to stop and eat: Asda's car park nearby. I've never seen such a busy Asda.

    We stopped and almost immediately a scruffy stealth campervan pulled up so close next to us that we couldn't have got out of the habitation door if we'd wanted to. The swarthy gentlemen inside it got out and walked over to talk to the dodgy-looking occupants of an ancient motorhome that was there when we arrived. Then another swarthy chap wandered around in front of our bus on his phone. In the words of the prophet, sod that. We made a quick getaway before we were killed, raped and robbed, and decided to check out another Google map star: West Drive, by Queen's Park. Mrs Simon and I didn't really feel the vibe here (yes, ok, we're fussy. If it was just us in the van we wouldn't be quite so picky but when you have dogs that bark and need to get out to wee it attracts attention to you, and we didn't want that. Besides, a 23' motorhome achieves that mostly all by itself), so we moved on again, this time to East Brighton Park campsite. At least if there was no room to park up in the long entrance road for some odd reason we could book in there for the night. No we couldn't, it was full. Conversely, the entrance road was empty. Completely empty. Worryingly empty. On Google maps it's chocka with motorhomes, but that evening, not a soul except us. Ok, so there had to be a reason for that, right? Move on! The decision was then made to drive back to Goring as the thought of driving around Brighton to look for somewhere to park up for the night didn't please me at all.

    Yes, back to the original sleepy spot where we were this very morning before I decided we'd go exploring. Ha-blimmin-ha. We found all our old motorhome friends, parked up amongst them, and settled in for the night. Did I mention that Marine Drive is quite busy with traffic in the day time? It's bloody busy at night too! Even more so, perhaps. Some cars seemed more considerate than others, driving past at a normal rate, whereas some drove past beeping and roaring, rocking each and every one of us on our suspension as they hurtled past, backwards and forwards. All night. Such fun. Such lovely people. The morning was beautiful and after an early cuppa we headed off to Birling Gap, Beachy Head, carefully avoiding Hove and Brighton.

    Arriving at Birling Gap at 9.15am Saturday morning we were eager to have a look at the 'normous chalky cliffs, hopefully over a nice plate of brekkie from the cafe I'd read about. As we appear to have no luck whatsoever, the cafe was shut of course. There were no signs on the place to indicate that it's even a cafe, no opening times, no menu, nothing. Wiping some of the grime off a window I peered inside the deserted building and it looked quite nice. If there was somebody inside cooking sausages they were hiding it well. As we lingered some National Trust people arrived and set up a table and some flags to persuade visitors to join their happy band. Considering they were the buggers who stopped us parking at Devil's Dyke overnight, and are also responsible for similar signs in this and every car park in the Beachy Head area, they got not a penny from me, nor will they! What's wrong with this country?? Why don't we take proper advantage of our attractions? It's as though the owners don't really want people to go there because we just cause them hassle! We shuffled off again after a while. Well... we're from Thanet and cliffs are cliffs. There's lots of them here, and you can get a bacon sarnie while you look at them! We drove further to the car park next to the Beachy Head hotel and emptied our cassette into the public toilets there. That'll teach 'em.

    NEXT! King Edward's Parade in Easbourne. The Wish Tower. Lots of easy parking. Not stupidly expensive either. Weird, not used to this. Looks nice. Not too busy. Clean. Pleasant. Nice, well-maintained buildings. Happy, smiling, pleasant, chatty people. What's going on?? Eastbourne. What a lovely place. We walked the whole length of the sea front, crossed the road, had a good look at all the shops we could find, and generally found it to be one of the nicest places we've ever been. Now, I'm aware that Eastbourne has a bit of a reputation as a retirement home, but if that's true then I'll retire tomorrow if I can live there! It's actually an outdated epithet nowadays as the average age of Eastbourne is dropping, so I read. Such a good atmosphere about the place. After a good explore we decided to push on with the vague itinerary but we're definitely coming back to Eastbourne to visit again.

    On to Bexhill then. On the way I called Cobb's Hill Farm campsite, just north of Bexhill, to see if they had a space for us that night. They did. Hooray. We might have failed somewhat at the wild camping on this occasion but standing under a thundering hot shower later that day I cared not. So, Bexhill. There was a Roaring 20's thing going on when we arrived so the place was absolutely packed. As we're not overly keen on the Charleston we thought we'd pop back in the morning and made our way to the campsite. The site was ok. Pitches nicely separated, very clean toilets and showers, all the usual facilities. Not somewhere I'd spend a week but good for a day or two at £20 per night for hard-standing with electricity and two dogs. Next morning Bexhill was a completely different place and we were able to explore much easier. It's a nice enough place with a big long seafront with lots of free parking. We cooked lunch here right on the edge of the cliff at the very end of De La Warr Parade. Got the impression that Eastbourne people come to live here when Eastbourne becomes too fast-paced, exciting and heady.

    Next, Hastings. Couldn't stop anywhere. All car parks have a height barrier, all roads are full of parked cars. Tatty, minging place. Nearest two motorhome parking places are 2 and 3 miles away from the town according to Hastings council's website. How convenient. Sod 'em, it looks like a wannabe Brighton anyway. Nice sunny drive through Rye etc. back to Thanet. Job done.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
    • Like Like x 14
  2. Debs

    Debs Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2014
    Messages:
    3,072
    Likes Received:
    14,293
    Location:
    Looking for the sunny side of the street
    Thankyou:) enjoyed reading that & it bought back lots of memories, I Think we've even stayed at Cobbs Hill site.......but that was in our caravan days so didn't have the parking problems.

    Guess you'll just have to make do with the New Forest:D
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    15,458
    Likes Received:
    8,598
    Location:
    Ilfracombe, Devon
    nice review just bares out the fact that motorhomes are not generally welcomed anywhere near the coast in Britain
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Weinsbergaman

    Weinsbergaman

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    197
    Location:
    Wirral, North West England
    Thank you for a very interesting and entertaining read (y) That has put me off "Wild Camping" in this country forever :D, not that I was ever going to anyway. I like the security of proper sites and so does the wife ;)

    Thanks again, Antony
     
    • Like Like x 3
  5. Rob and Val

    Rob and Val Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    2,120
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    Wow, what a great write-up and an insight into Wild Camping. Many thanks, Simon.

    We have, on occasion, tried Wild Camping, but never sleep that well - one ear always open for police or scumbags. Like Weinsbergaman Antony, we are happier on sites in the UK.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,035
    Likes Received:
    4,104
    Location:
    Cotes d'armor, France
    ...and that's why we rarely visit anywhere in the UK in our van. The only thing we are geared up for in this country is shopping. I'm surprised retail parks and shopping centres haven't got designated motor home parking areas.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  7. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,035
    Likes Received:
    4,104
    Location:
    Cotes d'armor, France
    Take out "near the coast" and you have hit the nail on the head!
     
    • Like Like x 3
  8. Simon

    Simon Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    287
    Likes Received:
    423
    Location:
    Ramsgate, Kent
    It can be quite challenging, and you're right when you say we're all about shopping. Massive car parks all over the country for *that*.
     
  9. scousebird

    scousebird Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    Messages:
    13,578
    Likes Received:
    20,546
    Location:
    South East Kent
    Well Simon, get yourself over to France - much more welcoming to MHs
     
    • Like Like x 3
  10. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,035
    Likes Received:
    4,104
    Location:
    Cotes d'armor, France
    One of the things I like about France is the fact that virtually all shops are closed on a Sunday ( except near popular holiday / coastal areas in season)
     
  11. Manic

    Manic Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    991
    Location:
    Uk
    Good write up, you can see why France is so popular.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  12. Bill_OR

    Bill_OR Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    570
    Location:
    Nr Hastings, East Sussex
    We did a similar survey in our motorhome a few years ago looking for a place we wanted to move to. Did the same drive along St Leonards/Hastings sea front, failing to find anywhere to park. There ARE some places (e.g. Sea Road) in St Leonards but you have to know where they are beforehand! However, in our frustration with Hastings, a random turn and we managed to find our way to the Hastings Country Park near Fairlight and that changed our mind about the area - so much so that we moved here!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Simon

    Simon Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    287
    Likes Received:
    423
    Location:
    Ramsgate, Kent
    D'you know, I had Sea Road starred on my map! If we hadn't booked in at Cobb's Farm after the Brighton debacle we might have investigated it, but Goring was closer and we wanted to see Beachy Head and Eastbourne first. As it was we went straight from Bexhill to Hastings in the morning, but now that I look at Streetview I do remember driving along Sea Road on the way through. The weird looking motorhomes on Streetview are actually still parked there.

    I see the entrance to the Country Park has the usual Hastings height barrier across it! :rolleyes:
     
  14. Bill_OR

    Bill_OR Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    570
    Location:
    Nr Hastings, East Sussex
    Simon - next time you need to come right up Fairlight Road to the top of the hill and turn right into Coastguard Lane. The main car park is a couple of hundred yards down the lane and there is no height barrier. £2/day and the view is brilliant. Unfortunately overnight parking is not allowed :-(
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  15. Movinon

    Movinon Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    280
    Likes Received:
    305
    Location:
    UK
    You mean the Hastings Country Park which has a height barrier at the entrance? Motorhomers not exactly welcome there.
     
  16. Simon

    Simon Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    287
    Likes Received:
    423
    Location:
    Ramsgate, Kent
    Thanks Bill. Lovely view! I'll star it for next time.
     
  17. Microchip

    Microchip Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    123
    Location:
    Hampshire
    And the same as us, we don't bother to holiday in th UK simply because it's a rip off country, and As motor homers we aren't wanted.
    So it's France or Germany every time, and thats where we spend our hard earned every year.

    Keith
     
  18. Chas17

    Chas17 Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    174
    Location:
    Burnham on Sea
    [QUOTE="I'm surprised retail parks and shopping centres haven't got designated motor home parking areas.[/QUOTE]

    Sedgemoor Council Parking at Morrisons in Burnham on Sea have 12 designated MH parking slots - no overnight parking though.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Bill_OR

    Bill_OR Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    570
    Location:
    Nr Hastings, East Sussex
    Hi Movinon - I think what Simon saw on Google Maps was the entrance to the picnic area which has height barriers. The main car parks in Hastings Country Park have no height barriers and there is often an occasional MH parked up, brewing up and taking in the view!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. PORKSTER

    PORKSTER Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Messages:
    911
    Likes Received:
    716
    Location:
    Sussex coast
    think you may have missed some nice spots to be honest
     
Loading...

Share This Page