How can a junction have historic significance? Before 1964, the seafront road was the only road into and out of the town from the west. The A259 turned up into the town at this junction having braved the elements between the Buckle and Claremont Road. As such it featured a direction sign, just in case travellers had already lost their way when heading towards Newhaven. The old finger post, once a major feature on East Sussex County Council’s Highways – and a good many other Counties’ – remains to this day.
Users of the road here were exposed to the storms which often resulted in the road being closed and all vehicles, including buses (the main long distance service was numbered 12 even then!) being diverted along Belgrave and Firle Road to Grand Avenue away from the coast and returning via Hill Rise near Bishopstone Station, thereby avoiding the Buckle altogether. Indeed the roadway here often experienced severe damage as the photograph from the 1950s reveals. More about the regular road closures on a major bus route later!
Continue west; the low lying land on the other side of the road is known locally as the Brickfields, since that is what it used to be. Prior to that it was an inlet from the river or sea. In Napoloeonic times troops were encamped nearby.
Now a nature reserve, this grassy hollow which is so sheltered from the strong sea winds is a sanctuary for people – especially dog walkers. A rich diversity of plants, insects and animals also live here. The site was once part of much larger tidal inlet now cut off by the building up of the shingle beach on which the promenade sits and inland by the railway embankment and, since 1964, the by-pass. For more information about the current activity on the site please contact The Friends of the Old Brickfield. They can be contacted on their Facebook group.
Continue east until you’re opposite a distinctive building with a round tower. That is the modern Buckle.