April 3rd, 2023.

LYT Productions, in partnership with Lewes District Council, have received a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund of £213,800 to deliver Walk the Chalk, the flagship celebration amongst nine national events to mark the opening of the England Coast Path which, when complete, will be a 2,700 mile coastal trail around the country, and the longest of its kind in the UK.

In late September 2023, this free, five-day event centred on South Hill Barn, Seaford Head Nature Reserve, Cuckmere Haven and the Seven Sisters will discover local heritage, chalk, fossils, flora, fauna, history and folklore through art and creativity, walks, talks and exhibitions. Above all, Walk the Chalk will celebrate the joys of being in nature and our iconic coastal landscape, with a focus on enrichment for everyone.

Phil Rose, Artistic Director at LYT Productions explained: “This generous funding gives another golden opportunity for young people to engage in heritage in new and exciting ways, and to feel connected to their spectacular environment. We can’t wait to start work on this amazing project."

At the heart of the event will be three free but bookable guided walks, led by specially trained community volunteers, through this beautiful and biodiverse area which is owned by Seaford Town Council and managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Devised and produced by the team behind 2021’s spectacular Tide Mills Project, Walk the Chalk will be an innovative community celebration in an extraordinary and world-famous location.

Helen Browning-Smith, Tourism & Arts Manager at Lewes District Council said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident the project will benefit local communities and fill them with a sense of pride and ownership of this world-famous and fascinating section of England’s coast.”

An accessible, outdoors community event for local residents and visitors to enjoy

An extensive programme of community engagement and education in the run-up to September will bring together schools, older people, and vulnerable and isolated groups, with the aim of bringing those who don’t usually access green spaces into the heart of the project, reaping the physical and mental benefits of being in nature. Working closely with the Sussex Community Development Association, the organisers intend the event to be fully accessible and have use of all-terrain mobility scooters for those with mobility issues.

Working with Sussex based artists, poets, story tellers and performers, Walk the Chalk will bring an abundance of creativity to the area, including the commission of five innovative art installations marking the route of the Path across the cliffs of Seaford Head and Hope Gap in the South Downs National Park. These will be visibly highlighting the landscape through September, tying in with Visit Lewes’ ever-expanding artists’ open houses Artwave Festival, and leading into the Turner Prize at Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery the following week. A documentary film will be made to capture the legacy of this substantial local event on historic land gifted to the people of Seaford by Seaford Town Council.

Stuart McLeod, Director England - London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are delighted to support this project, particularly as it’s a flagship celebration for the England Coast Path. This part of the coastline has some fascinating stories – through fossils, fauna and the impactful coastal views. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, more people will be able to learn about this natural heritage and connect them with the nature and wildlife that is on their doorstep.”

The event’s close proximity to the vibrant coastal town of Seaford offers excellent public transport links and places to stay.

Adam Chugg, Town Clerk to Seaford Town Council said: “The Town Council was delighted to be asked to facilitate this event, as recognition of the uniqueness and charm of our site. All the events are being planned and prepared in ways that are sensitive to the environmental and ecological importance of this valuable site. We are excited to work with the organisers over the coming months and see the project come to life.”

The project is also generously supported by Natural England, the South Downs National Park Authority, South East Water, the Chalk Cliff Trust and the Towner Gallery.

The chalk landscape of the South Downs National Park supports some of the most important wildlife habitats in Britain and was one of the prime reasons for the designation of the National Park 13 years ago.


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