Facts about Newhaven
Newhaven is a channel ferry port in East Sussex in England, with regular passenger services to Dieppe.
It lies at the mouth of the River Ouse, which has historically migrated westward from Seaford, one of the Cinque Ports. A breakwater was built at the village of Meeching and a new outlet cut through the valley; the railway reached the port in 1847, enabling a train-ferry which brought great activity. The area then became known as the ‘new haven’, officially recognised as ‘The Port of Newhaven’ in 1882.
Newhaven lies at the mouth of the River Ouse, in the valley the river has cut through the South Downs. Over the centuries the river has migrated between Newhaven and Seaford in response to the growth and decay of a shingle spit (shoal) at its mouth. There was a Bronze Age fort on what is now Castle Hill.
In about 480 AD,the Saxon people established a village near where Newhaven now stands, which they named “Meeching” (variously known as “Myching” or “Mitching”). Throughout the Middle Ages, the main outlet and port of the Ouse was at Seaford (one of the Cinque Ports). The growth of the shingle spit hindered the outflow of the river, which consequently flooded the Levels upstream and hindered access to the port. Therefore, a channel through the shingle spit was cut in the mid-16th century below Castle Hill, creating access to a sheltered harbour, better than that at Seaford. This was the origin of modern Newhaven.