When I was a kid in the late 40s and the 50s the Undercliff Walk from Black Rock to Ovingdean was a very special place on a Sunday. It was a bit scarey if it was a filthy stormy day when the waves came right over the seawall to drown you. It was best at high tide when the wind was blowing the waves onshore, no chance at all of staying dry.
Dodging the waves
When the tide was not right up, we would tempt fate by trying to dodge the huge waves that crashed onto the rounded worn steps that were as slippery as grease. Many a time I missed my step and got a well deserved soaking. If it was low tide there were other things to look at in the rockpools. To me they looked like miniature fjords if your imagination could run to that, mine certainly did. If you were lucky there was a big green crabs left behind to play with and pick up when they got a grip on the stick you tempted its claws with.
Playing in the rock pools
We had absolutely no intention at all of harming anything at all in the rock pools, and we never did. There were those little brown sea anemones that squirted water at you if you touched them. Trying to get a limpet to let go off a rock was another fun experience if you were quick. If it was the right season then there were lovely winkles to be had for Sunday teatime. We would take off our socks and load them up with the little beggars. They would be boiled when we got home and when they cooled down out would come the pins to winkle them out, (excuse the pun).
The farm at Ovingdean
If your legs were long enough you could leap from one big concrete square to another that used to hold the rails for the ‘Daddy Longlegs’ railway all those years ago. When we got to Ovingdean we would go up the steps and instead of walking back along the cliff top home, we would cross the main road and walk through Ovingdean village. First thing we made for was the old hollow oak tree and some of the farm animal on Baker’s farm. We would play in the hay barn until we got told to go on our way by the farmer who never shouted at us kids. There were conker trees by the farm where we collected loads of conkers in the autumn. Then we would go over the hills across the golf course to EastBrightonPark and then home to Bennett Road. What more could you ask for in life eh?.