The Beachy Head Experience

Come with us on a walk back in time accompanied by kraken, sea snakes, bowler hats and bones. We start with an astonishing view and an enchanted moment outside the new visitor centre at Beachy Head. Emily and Cole’s guide through millions of years of history is Jo Seaman, heritage expert and story teller, who takes us deep under the sea and high over the cliffs. We dig down through layers of soil to uncover hidden treasures and strange tales connecting the past with the present. Find out why Jo has put down roots on the Edge of England, has his head in the stars, and has developed a special bond with a skeleton. The latest episode of the podcast exploring the fascinating people, places and stories of the South Coast. Let your ears bring you here. For more information on the centre visit The Beachy Head Story.

Mabel the podcast dog surveys the valley inland of Beachy Head, looking out towards Belle Tout and the sea

The Saving Power of Nature

Welcome to the first of a new batch of Edge of England episodes, exploring people and place along this curious, glorious stretch of coastline. We kick off season three with a very personal episode inspired by the wellbeing weekend that the lovely people at East Sussex libraries are having for Mental Health Awareness Week. In our first walk together for quite some time, Cole and Emily take a route skirting the very edge of the South Downs above Eastbourne and it all gets quite confessional. Plug in your ears, feel the wind in your hair and come along for a stroll as we reflect on the saving power of nature, big skies, and the mysterious draw of the ‘sky pool’.

The skypool we talk about in this episode

The Light Keeper

There’s nothing we like more than to invite you and your ears on a wander along the coast and through the South Downs with us. Our walks together stopped when the first lockdown struck but our conversations didn’t. Here’s one we recorded during that time, exploring a story written by Cole set in the stunning landscape of the Belle Tout, Beachy Head and Seven Sisters, this time with added songs. Emily and Cole discuss Cole’s novel ‘The Light Keeper’ and why sometimes, love takes you to the edge.

Our new series begins later this month. We’re delighted to have been invited by East Sussex libraries to talk about our podcast as part of their well-being weekend. The benefits of walking and talking in and around the wonderful edge of England is the focus of our next episode, coming very soon.

The Birds

Lockdown might have stopped us humans spreading our wings over the past year, but it hasn’t stopped the birds making their incredible journeys. A rare bearded vulture was seen soaring over the chalk cliffs back in the Autumn and white-tailed eagles from the Isle of Wight have been spotted over Beachy Head recently. The eagles were photographed by a man called Beachy Birder, whose blog and Twitter feed are fascinating even if you’re even just a little bit interested in birds and their interaction with this windswept stretch of Sussex coastline. We join Beachy Birder up on the headland to explore the wonders of nature and the nature of obsession. Have you seen Detectorists? This is a bit like that, with wings.

Back to the beginning: Birling Gap

We’re going to put out a shiny new edit of an episode of the Edge of England every Saturday, hoping that by the time we reach the end lockdown will be over and we can make some more. Lots of people have said kind things about the podcast, so why not get away from it all with your lovely ears by coming on a walk with us?

It all begins on a blustery spring day, one of those days that catches you out with eye –stinging, nose-watering coldness, despite the daffodils being out. A conversation in a sea front café between the pier and the bandstand. At one end, taking shelter from the wind, rain and sea spray, is a man who sleeps rough, keeping warm with a steaming coffee thanks to the kindness of the café owner. At the other end of the café, Cole, Emily and Mabel the dog have an amiable argument about work, life, that sort of thing. There are lots of things they never will see eye to eye on, but they are united in the way this part of the world has got under their skin. Taken hold. Taken them by surprise. The Edge of England.

This is a place full of stories. Stories of people and place where the land meets the sea. From the dramatic and crumbling coastline of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters in Sussex on the south coast of England to the seemingly endless low-lying, under-the-radar expanses of land beyond Eastbourne and the harbour. This is a place that makes you feel something. A place that can change you. This is landscape that changes. From brutal and threatening to curious and welcoming. There are stories to tell here, from the past, and in the present. As story tellers, we decide to try to tell them and explore how we fit into the unfolding story of this place too. So, please come back with us to that blustery spring day and take a walk with us, the first of many, this time up onto the South Downs, and the podcast begins. Thank you for being here and welcome to the Edge of England.

Season Two, Episode Four: The Mystery of the Son

In which we pick up with part two of the remarkable story of Parson Darby, his hole and his life-saving life. Cole and Emily go to find out the truth about this local legend from historian Elizabeth Wright, who reveals a surprising twist in the tale. Why did a young man turn up in France claiming to be the first-born son of the light keeper of Beachy Head? Why are there no records of his birth? What part did this mystery man play in the fight for an independent America? Are his modern relatives right to claim a link back to the tragic, heroic Darbys?

Season Two, Episode Three: The Mystery of the Light

In which we are haunted by a Spitfire yet again, before we go in search of the truth about a local legend. Who was Parson Darby? Where was his famous hole? Why did he sit in a cave in the face of the cliff for hours, day and night in all weathers, shining a light? Did he save lives? Did he die of a broken heart? Was he a smuggler? We fall out over the possibilities, visit his grave then go in search of someone who knows. Another fascinating story from the Edge of England, uncovered and told by award-winning broadcasters Cole Moreton and Emily Jeffery.

Be sure to listen to the next episode for part two and a major twist in the story.

Season Two, Episode One: Detectorists With Wings

In which Cole and Emily meet a man who makes supermodels look even better for a living, but who heads for the cliffs in his own time to spot birds as they arrive on their extraordinary journeys from the south reaches of Africa to the green hills of England. Why do they do that? What can you hear? We explore the wonders of nature and the nature of obsession, find out what it’s like to be a twitcher’s girlfriend and get a bit transcendental. Walk with us, chill, listen, wander, wonder … 

(If you’ve seen the show Detectorists, it’s a bit like that with wings. Or not.)