The Coastguard Cottages
Over the next century, Officers based in the cottages watched over the bay, combating smuggling, performing salvaging and lifesaving duties and, during the World Wars, guarding against invasion.
The history of the area is rich and together with its archaeological interest, outstanding natural beauty and diverse wildlife, Cuckmere Haven and the Coastguard Cottages have become one of the most loved views in the country.
"When man added the Coastguard Cottages to combat the brisk smuggling trade, he inadvertently put the icing on the cake."
- Seth Hunter, Author
A Short History of Sea Defences at Cuckmere - an account from Richard Abbott, descendant of the original Coastguards.
1947: Large Sea Wall built with war reparation after military requisitioned cottages during WW11 to compensate for the damage caused to the cottages..."Much of the woodwork was missing, the floorboards, doors and windows.”
1948: Grandfather and Great Uncle Bert self build wall below cottages 3 &4 with some help from some locals from Seaford. The wall was strengthened using old bedsteads.
1985: Easter time saw the demise of the wall under cottages 3 & 4.
1987: New Wall built by Durkan Contractors Ltd under cottages 1 to 5 joining to the great sea wall funded by the residents.
1993: New Wall Facing installed to cover concrete reinforcing rods that became exposed due to sea action funded by the residents.
1999: West flank rock revetment constructed with 500-ton limestone rock brought over from Boulogne by barge to stop the sea coming behind the new wall.
1995-2000: Terracing in front of No 5 constructed using reclaimed timbers from vinegar vats.
2003-2005: a series of repairs and strengthening works have been carried out by residents and friends to ensure the continued protection offered by the Great Wall.
2014: the sea overcame the defences at the bottom of the lower cottage garden putting at risk the large Wall and Cable House - this was repaired by reinstating the timber wall and use of rocks to break the force of the sea. Funded by the residents.
“It was Easter time during a big storm and I was in bed and woken by a huge rumble. The bed shook and there was a great cracking sound as part of the sea wall fell into the sea during a big storm; none of us wanted to go outside because of the ferocious storm.
The next morning we found remains of the wall lying on the beach. You can still see one lump of concrete from this wall lying on the beach below the upper coastguard cottages today."