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The Enclosed Ground

Capacity: 2,000
Address: East Brighton, Sussex, BN2 5TS
Telephone: 01273 609736
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: The Hawks
Year Ground Opened: 1890*
Undersoil Heating: No
Home Kit: Red and White


The Enclosed Ground is rather picturesque, being in a rural setting, with the South Downs viewable beyond. It is only half a mile from the seafront and there are some great views to be had driving down towards it. It is an unusual ground in the respect that because it is built into a side of a hill, the East side of the stadium comprises of a large steep bank that is topped with a row of advertising panels. Unlike the Dripping Pan ground at nearby Lewes, which also has a similar feature, this area is not used for spectators. All that is on that side are the two team dugouts, which oddly are situated on the opposite side of the ground to the team dressing rooms and Main Stand.

The Main Stand is a small covered seated stand, which is set back from the pitch. There is a noticeable slope to the pitch at the ground running up from the South to the North End and having more of an incline from the half way line. The design of the Main Stand reflects this, having more rows of seating on the South side than the North. The stand only runs for around a quarter of the length of the pitch straddling the half way line. On the South side of this stand are some small buildings which house the club house and dressing rooms, whilst the North side of the stand has no spectator facilities, apart from a narrow pathway and perimeter fence.

There are temporary stands at either end of the ground. At the North End there are two banks of open seating, which were once in place at the Withdean Stadium when Brighton and Hove Albion played there. One section of seating is 11 rows high and has a capacity of just over 800 seats and extends from the East side to beyond the goalmouth. Then there is a gap, before another smaller bank of seating which is eight rows high and contains around 400 seats. The opposite end is at least covered but is much more of an untidy affair. It is again all seated and does extend the full width of the pitch. However as the ground also has a slope that runs up from the Main Stand side to the East Bank, then the temporary stand has been put together in four sections that are at different heights to one another. Still, the main drawback to this area is that it has a large amount of small supporting pillars running across the front of it. The stadium has a set of six floodlights, three of which run down each side of the ground.

Whitehawk FC currently plays in the BetVictor ‎Isthmian League South East Division, which is at Step 8 of the English Football Pyramid System and two leagues below the National League South.

If fans are segregated inside the stadium, then part the North End of the ground is allocated to visiting supporters. This temporary all seated stand is situated behind the goal and extends over to the East side of the stadium and has a capacity of 800 seats. It is set back from the playing area and has no roof so hope that it doesn’t rain. It is called the ‘Sea End’ by fans as you can actually see the sea from this area. However its elevated position means that the wind can be quite bracing at times, so wrap up well. Whitehawk is normally a welcoming club to visitors.

There is a small clubhouse at the ground that admits away fans. Around a 15 minute walk away on Arundel Road is the Dady Long Legs, but this is more of a cocktail/wine bar rather than a traditional pub. On the seafront is the  Brighton Marina, where there are a number of bars and restaurants. There is also a traditional pub at the Marina, that serves real and is called the Master Mariner. The Marina also has a large free car park. To find the Marina and the New Bush pub, then from the entrance to the ground, turn left down Wilson Avenue, and continue all the way down to the seafront. Turn left for the Marina (which is well signposted) or turn right for the New Bush and then take the second right into Arundel Road.

As the traffic into the centre Brighton on the A23 can be quite slow at times, the the route outlined below avoids this.

At the end of the M23, continue onto the A23, heading towards Brighton. At the roundabout which is the junction with the A27, take the A27 towards Lewes. After around four miles you will see the stadium on your right hand side. Leave at the A27 and take the slip road sign posted Falmer/Rottingdean (B2123). At the top of the slip road turn right, crossing back over the A27. Continue straight towards Rottingdean passing the Amex stadium on your right.

On reach a set of traffic lights which is the Woodingdean Junction, turn right by the Downs Hotel, towards the City Centre/Racecourse. At the next traffic lights turn left into Wilson Avenue (signposted East Brighton Park). After passing the entrance to the Stanley Leisure Centre, continue further down the hill and then take a left into a narrow road (signposted East Brighton Park/Camping). Follow the narrow road round, passing an entrance to a caravan park and the ground entrance, is around to the right.

There is a car park at the ground that holds 100 cars and the entrance road up to the ground is quite narrow. So it may be an idea to find one street parking on the residential streets off Wilson Avenue and walk over to the ground.

Brighton Central Railway Station is situated around two and half miles away from the ground. Either get a taxi or bus up to the ground.

To take a bus; then from the Stance B stop at the railway station, take the Brighton and Hove Bus Company No 7 (towards Brighton Marina) or 27 (towards Saltdean) to Roedean Road (ask the driver to drop you off on this road near the Marina). After being dropped off, walk up Roedean Road to the traffic lights (keeping the gas pylon on your right) and turn left into Wilson Avenue. Then take the next right into a narrow road (signposted East Brighton Park/Camping). Follow the narrow road round, passing an entrance to a caravan park and the ground entrance, is around to the right. Please take care along this road as it has no footpath and at night it is unlit. A Bus Timetable can be downloaded from the Brighton & Hove Bus website.

Thanks to Johh Atiken of the Wanderers Way Annual for the above information.

Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:

Remember if travelling by train then you can normally save on the cost of fares by booking in advance.

Visit the the trainline website to see how much you can save on the price of train tickets.

Click on the trainline logo below:

Adult £10
OAP’s/Students/Under 17’s £5
Under 10’s Free (when accompanied by a paying adult)
Dogs free! (must though be kept on a lead)

Official Matchday Programme £2.

Whitehawk FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website).

Eastbourne Borough, Lewes and Bognor Regis Town.

Record Attendance
2,174 v Dagenham and Redbridge
FA Cup Second Round Replay, 16th December 2015.

Average Attendance
2018-2019: 318 (Isthmian League Premier Division)
2017-2018: 270 (National League South)
2016-2017: 297 (National League South)

If you require hotel accommodation in the Brighton area then first try a hotel booking service provided by They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will help towards the running costs of keeping this Guide going.

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: [email protected] and I’ll update the guide.

Special thanks to David Pillman for providing the photos of the Enclosed Ground.

  • Whitehawk v Lincoln City
    FA Cup First Round
    Sunday 8th November 2015, 2pm
    Ian Howitt (Lincoln City fan)

    Why were you looking forward to visiting the Enclosed Ground?    

    It was an intriguing tie against lower league opposition and a ground that I had not previously visited.

    How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?    

    Due to sat nav – easy to find. Parking made easier by the opening of a nearby field.

    What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?    

    Went to a nearby café that services the adjacent Sunday league and Rugby pitches. Awesome ham egg and chips – highly recommended.

    What you thought on seeing the Enclosed Ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?    

    I had been advised the place was a bit of a tip by several others who had been, and they were spot on. Temporary stands at either end, although the one on the away end afforded a good view. The Main Stand that was low slung and set way back from the pitch and one side that was inaccessible. The only refreshments and toilet facilities were of the portable variety, the toilets were poor to say the least.

    Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..    

    The game was a cracker – finishing 5-3 to Whitehawk, who deserved their win. Atmosphere was strange as the home fans were down the far end and made a lot of noise but much of it was lost as the ground is very open. As stated the facilities left a lot to be desired. The Stewards were a friendly bunch and needed support from the local constabulary who had to step in to calm the Neanderthal behaviour of a handful of the visiting contingent. Another disappointment was the programmes sold out (Only 400 printed) despite being in the ground an hour prior to kick off. Subsequently changing hands for almost £20 on eBay.

    Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

    Easily got away as I made a hasty exit from the ground on the whistle, and within minutes was heading out of town. However those who lingered would have taken ages to get back out on the road.

    Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

    Cracking game but an abysmal venue. How this is a step two ground is beyond me. A case of hoards of cash being thrown at the team but not the facilities. A real shame as this part of Sussex has some lovely non league grounds, Lewes and Worthing to name just two. Glad to have done it, but wont be hurrying back.

  • Whitehawk v Poole Town
    National League South
    Saturday 2nd September 2017, 3pm
    Andrew Wood (Neutral fan)

    Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Enclosed Ground?
    I always try to get to watch Whitehawk once a season, preferably in the summer, as access to stadium when it's dark isn't good if you don't have your own transport.
    How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
    Dead easy. I finished work just after 1pm and caught a bus to the ground, I know where the Enclosed Ground is, so it couldn't be easier.
    What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
    The Enclosed Ground is set in a large park, so I visited 'Dottie's cafe' in the park, and watched a game of amateur cricket in the sun. How nice! Not many home (or away) fans in attendance, but Whitehawks fans are always a friendly bunch.
    What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Enclosed Ground?
    The first time I came here in 1992, there was a gate to get in, and a covered shed, and that was it! Now there's a pleasant little stand along one side of the pitch, and two similar seated stands behind each goal, one of which is covered, so Whitehawk have become a much bigger club over the last 20 odd years.
    Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
    The game itself was pretty good. Poole dominated the first half and should have gone in at half time 4-0 up, but missed some simple chances and went in only two up. They were to regret this, as Whitehawk, under a new caretaker manager came out in the second half and made a game of it. They got a goal back midway through the second half from a rather soft penalty decision and grew in confidence. Poole still had chances to increase their lead, but four minutes from time, Whitehawk popped up with a deserved equaliser, and could have gone on to win the game, but a draw was about right. There were only about 250 people there, but both the 'Whitehawk ultras' and the Poole fans sang throughout to create a good atmosphere. Programme okay at 2 quid, a decent clubhouse with a range of proper ales as well as the normal beers. Reasonably priced food and drink. Terrible, rock hard chips, ok but pricey cheeseburger (£4), and oddly, various Southern fried chicken meals! Loos outside are portaloos, less said the better, but I've seen worse.
    Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
    Not a big crowd, so easy, but there's no pavement, so you need eyes in the back of your head to avoid getting run over, until you get to a banking alongside the road. This is all well and good in summer, but hazardous in winter, particularly as the park you walk through to get back to town is, I believe, still unlit!
    Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
    A good game of footy between two teams who you feel will struggle this season. Whitehawk have overachieved due to the previous owners putting loads of money into what were traditionally a county league team. Whether the new owners can do the same and kick on remains to be seen, but Whitehawk are a nice club to visit (in summer at least) and I wish them well.
  • Whitehawk v Wingate & Finchley
    Isthmian Premier League
    Saturday 25th August 2018, 3pm
    Andreas Lemonides (Wingate & Finchley)

    Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Enclosed Ground?

    I was looking forward to this game. Firstly, it was an awayday to the South Coast and secondly, it's a nice stadium with a nice enclosed (hence the name "Enclosed Ground") atmosphere.

    How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

    I took the supporters coach which left Finchley at 10:30am. It took about 2 hours and 30 minutes due to traffic near the QEII Bridge and also the M23 was full of bottlenecks. We then passed the Falmer Stadium (Brighton & Hove Albion's stadium) and turned off onto some smaller local road. The road was on some scenic hills and many hikers had parked their cars on the side and walking across the hills. The driveway between the road and the stadium was very tight for the coach but the coach was just about able to park up.

    What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

    We arrived about 1.30pm. As I didn't have anything to eat since about 9:30 that morning I went to the clubhouse and brought three chicken parts (Chicken legs and thighs available but you didn't get a choice in what they gave you) and chips for £6. The chicken was decent quality but the chips were just average.

    What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Enclosed Ground?

    One side of the stadium had a small stand and this was where the players tunnel and clubhouse was. Opposite, there is a side with a hillside overlooking it. Behind the goals, there were seated stands. The unroofed one was apparently at Withdean Stadium when Brighton played there.

    Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

    The game was good, result wise as it was a 3-2 win for Wingate. Both sets of fans had an ultras section and were belting out atmosphere. There were some stewards, who were friendly, scattered around the ground. The stewards were helpful when one Whitehawk fan started a fight with one of our fans and broke it up quickly. I spoke to quite a few of the Whitehawk fans during half-time and they are a friendly (but too political) bunch of fans. Whitehawk's ultras had a drum and many cowbells (which other fans and I found funny as there were some cows on the hill above the stadium) and were chanting for 90 minutes.

    Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

    We waited about 30 minutes for the coach to leave in the clubhouse. Liverpool vs Brighton was on the TV. The traffic on the way back was considerably less than the journey to Whitehawk.

    Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

    I would come back again as I enjoyed it. I was happy with the result and the ease of travelling with the coach. The only negative was both Whitehawk and our fans were complaining to the referee. Next time I have the opportunity to come to this unique stadium I will most likely come as others and I enjoyed the day out here.

Updated 26th January 2021