Bishopstone Beach Halt




As you leave the Mill House and Village the remains of the Station Keepers Cottage can be found, again with its interpretation board. The station was built mainly for the convenience of the residents of Tidemills,as the village of Bishopstone was less well populated at the time and further away.  The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway reached Newhaven by 1847, and  proposals had already been made to extend the line to Seaford. At that time Seaford had been described as consisting of little more than a Church and a cluster of fishing cottages and it was not until late 1864 that the extension was completed. It involved the construction of a about 2½ miles of new trackbed, stations at Bishopstone Halt (at Tidemills)and Seaford and one bridge at  the Buckle. The line was originally single track was doubled in 1904 but later to become singled again in 1975.  The line was electrified in 1935. The extension of the railway to Seaford were considered as early as 1845 before the arrival of the first trains at Newhaven. From the junction at Newhaven Wharf station to Seaford, the course of the line was straightforward with no major hills to negotiate, no tunnelling and only one bridge over the road at the Buckle. The line opened in June 1864 with 6 trains per day (three on Sundays) through to London Victoria as an extension of the existing Lewes to Newhaven services.

Although the growth of the railways may have been instrumental in the downfall of the Tidemill as a going concern, the benefits of the railway were realised and a siding was constructed to the Mill House. The sidings were finally lifted in 1922 and the station reduced in status to a halt. The halt finally closed in 1938 as it was replaced by the new station further east. The halt had a brief reopening from Easter 1939 closing finally again in 1942.

Now cross the railway, taking notice of the instructions and warnings and proceed towards the main A259 Road, turning east through the car park and follow the shared footpath and cycle track back towards the current Bishopstone Station.  As you pass along the track have a look at the station, now a grage II listed building. The art deco design, possibly inspired by that of Arnos Grove tube station, was intended to be the centrepiece of a proposed residential development that never took place due to the outbreak of the Second World War. Look closely at the embrasures on the central block. In 1940 a pair of pillboxes was built on the roof of the main station building, flanking its octagonal tower. Despite the times, considerable effort was made to blend these into the original structure, and they are thus well camouflaged.

Continue along the path and turn at the road junction turn left under the railway bridge back to the promenade at the Buckle to return to the start of the trail at Splash Point.

(Alternatively you can get a bus back to Seaford town Centre from the stop opposite the car park). We hope you have enjoyed your walk.  

Much of the information about the Bishopstone halt and the line: comes from "The  Seaford and Newhaven Branch" by RW Kidner, The Oakwood Press.