Peacehaven Cycleway now open

Footpath Clearance, ready for the cycle way


Footpath open and ready for use

 



By Andy Lock, on October 31st, 2016:

The footpath at the end of the A259 walking/cycling path between Newhaven and Peacehaven is being upgrade to allow cyclists. This is an ideal alternative for cyclists looking to ride between Peacehaven and Newhaven whilst avoiding the bottleneck on the approach to Downland Avenue. The official notice suggest this will be complete by the end of November.

As one of the items identified by Cycle Seahaven’s review of Peacehaven (http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/peacehaven-cycle-route-ideas-pt-2/)  it’s great to see this short section being upgraded to allow safer cycle journeys between Newhaven and Peacehaven on National Cycle Network route #2.

A259 to Ashington Gardens

Footpath ‘Peacehaven 12’ between A259 and Ashington Gardens

Additional:

Cycle Seahaven’s list of ideas for Peacehaven: http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/peacehaven-cycle-route-ideas-pt-2/

Our campaigns page: http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/campaigns/

How to plan a new route

Ride leaders, have you ever thought, “I’d like to go somewhere different today.”  Cyclists, have you thought, “Not Firle Road and Bopeep, again?”

Don’t despair, help is at hand.  Cycle Seahaven has produced a video guide to help you to plan new routes.  It gives you the skills and tools you will need to explore many exciting new routes and find parts of the countryside you never knew existed.

You can access this at   https://youtu.be/rl31gNbvtMU

When you’ve planned them, recce’d them, and proved them with a group, why don’t you put them on our website where you will find nearly 20 others with maps and directions.  Find them at “Rides and Events”, “Cycle Routes”.

Bridleways and Byways

One of the key elements of the Monday daytime rides is that we seek to use bridleways, byways and quiet country roads, with as much off-road as possible, sometimes over 75% of the route. Most of the bridleways and byways would have been in existence from the time of the enclosures, if not earlier, and were the usual means for farmers and labourers to access fields and villages and for villagers to get to church. They are very irregular in direction and, when converted into roads, give rise to the famous “rolling English roads”. Those that were not made into roads, remain as unsurfaced byways (open to wheeled traffic), bridleways and footpaths. Part of our vision is to seek out and use these routes so that they do not disappear through neglect. Full details of all rights of way can be found on the  East Sussex Rights of Way website and on any Ordnance Survey map.

There are many bridleways on the South Downs giving access to wide open vistas and bracing fresh air. They are usually firm, grassland tracks, sometimes stoney, with gentle slopes or very steep hills.Down in the low Weald, they are more secluded, tree-lined and calm with dappled sunlight peeking through the branches. They are flat or have low hills and in places suffer from deep puddles or stretches of cloying mud.

One of the major problems we have experienced is the degradation of these routes. We have found that access to the wide range of routes is being restricted by problems at several, usually narrow, key nodes or pinch points which are difficult to negotiate particularly for less adventurous cyclists, walkers and riders and those with younger families.

The problems seem to be:


The overgrowth in summer of nettles, brambles, hawthorn and other vegetation which render the use of the route unpleasant or dangerous. Two of the group recently emerged from such an overgrown path streaming blood from bramble scratches. Even when the ground may have been cleared of vegetation, overhanging hawthorn and bramble can cause serious injury to equestrians and cyclists. A good (bad) example is on the path to Bopeep at the top of the Golf Course.

Whether it is increased use or increased rainfall, a number of bridleways are suffering from severe erosion, even on chalk. This renders them difficult negotiate as deep V-shaped gullies are created with loose rocks in the bottom, sometimes leaving no level surface. These may be sufficiently deep to catch pedals and throw off riders. An example is the upper part of the bridleway in Poverty Bottom.

Areas of deep mud remaining all year which, in narrow sections, leave no dry area to bypass, in others, deep puddles extending across the width of the track or a series “poach holes” up to 15cms deep where hoofs have sunk into the mud. These are often in gateways and near streams. A particularly bad example is the bridleway from Bates Green Farm west of the Cuckmere River.

Byways are open to wheeled vehicles, and tractors, 4x4s and motorbikes can cause serious problems. Wheel tracks, sometimes three across the byway and up to 20 cms deep, leave only a narrow and discontinuous pathway between. An example would be the track to Folkington from Wilmington. Byways may be closed in winter but this does not apply to cycles.

All paths get overgrown in summer, most paths get wet and muddy in winter, but a few key places are getting to the point where they are unusable all year and are restricting access to a large network of adequate routes. The main point is that these are small areas that are restricting access to a much greater length of excellent bridleways and byways which could provide exercise and interest to many. It should be possible for remedial action to be taken to remove these problems and improve access to all parts of the network. Another point is that these pinch points force users onto a few easier paths which may, in turn, become overused and suffer erosion.

According to ESCCs Rights of Way Team, it is the landowners’ responsibility to maintain Rights of Way across their land. The Team advise that if you find a problem on a Right of Way, report to them, quoting the number of the route. This can be found from the on-line Rights of Way Map by clicking on the route at full magnification when a drop down box will show the Parish and number of the route, even of each stile and gate.

With traffic on the roads increasing, it is essential that these off-road routes are used and not lost.

Route Maps

A new page has been added to our website that lists a small selection of our favourite rides. The list can be sorted by mileage or total climb so you can look for routes by distance or effort. You can use the search function to filter routes by destination, distance or type (Road, MTB, Track). A link to an online map is also provided,  allowing you to try out these routes on your own,  or to get a good feel for the ride before you join us.

We plan to increase this list to include more routes. If you have a favourite route that’s not listed then please let us know.

The route maps page can be found under the Rides & Events menu bar or by going direct to http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/routemaps/

RouteMapScreenshot

An Invitation to become a Member of the OVCN Project

OVCNLOGO-webbannerWith the Project to build The Egrets Way well into its 3rd year,  we have recently become a Registered Charity (No 1155182). This will enable us to raise funds more easily as well as to limit the personal liability of the Trustees (members of the Steering Committee).

It also means that now only Members of the Project can vote at the AGM.

So, we would like you to apply to become a Member of the Project in time for our next AGM. The only requirements are that:

you agree with and support the aims of the OVCN Project (listed below) and
you become a Member at least 3 months before the AGM.

Membership does not impose any obligations on you other than to continue to support our aims,  so you can resign your membership at any time. It does,  however,  ensure that you will be kept informed about progress as we continue to work toward the completion of the Project.

To become a Member you only have to reply to send an email to the OVCN Secretary, a link is provided below. This will confirm that you agree with and support the aims of the OVCN Project and would like to become a Member.

The AGM will be held in January,  2015 (date and venue to be confirmed) so to be eligible to vote please sign up by the end of October 2014.

Many thanks
Neville Harrison
Chair,  Ouse Valley Cycle Network (Egrets Way) Project

Aims of the OVCN Project

  • Creating a network of safe, shared routes in the Ouse valley for everyday and recreational use
  • Connecting Ouse valley town, villages and amenities
  • Offering sustainable access for all to the South Downs National Park
  • Encouraging healthy lifestyle choices
  • Linking local, national and international routes
  • Helping to create a thriving local economy and green tourism
  • Promoting understanding of Living Landscapes

 

Click HERE to send a pre-formatted email to OVCN.
For more information on OVCN and their exciting project for a cycle route between Newhaven and Lewes go to http://egretsway.org.uk or click on our club link for other OVCN articles http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/category/campaigns/ovcnp/

Thursday Pub Ride #6 – new venue

Change of destination:
Although we start at the same place as usual for Thursday’s 7pm pub ride – the White Lion, Seaford – we have a change of route for October 9th. Instead of stopping at the Flying Fish we’re mixing things up a bit and heading out to another country pub – This time it’s The Plough and Harrow in Litlington.

The Route:
Starting at the White Lion on Belgrave Road,  Seaford at 7pm we ride along Belgrave Road to the mini roundabout and turn left up Firle Road. A third the way up we turn right onto Firle Drive and cut through to St Peters Road and The Holt. Along The Ridings and across the bottom of Chalvington Playing Fields to Maple Fields. We then head North along a bridleway on the Eastern side of Blatchington Golf Course. We then head East to follow the bridleway down to The Plough and Harrow, Litlington.

The return route to Seaford is along NCN2 (via Exceat) and other quiet roads back to the White Lion.

It’s 4 miles on the outward journey and 5 miles on the return.

Is this right for me?
If you are a regular rider then please be aware that we go very slowly, so you may be hanging around waiting.
The outward journey starts on roads with a long slow climb. The return is mostly flat apart from the climb up Exceat hill, which most of us will walk. Click here for a draft Map of the Route

To gauge the terrain have a go at riding the start of the route: Go from the White Lion to the Mini Roundabout. Turn left and go 1/3rd the way up Firle road (to Firle Drive).  Over the outward 4-mile route we do the equivalent of this climb about three times in total, interspersed with flat sections and a long descent.

Additional:
Good bright lights are needed as it’s almost dark when we leave, and we’ll be riding on rough ground away from streetlamps.
This route is about 25% on grass and chalk trails/bridleways, so you will need chunky tyres and a hybrid or mountain bike.
You must wear a helmet. Gloves and a water bottle can make the going easier, but are not essential.
With the warm nights we’ve been experiencing you may want to use insect repellent.

 

If you have any questions then please get in touch. See you there?

Andy

andy.lock@cycleseahaven.org.uk

Thursday pub ride #5

The weather’s STILL holding out and we’re expecting yet another fine day for this week’s slow ride on Thursday 2nd Oct. The ground conditions remain dry and dusty, even after the rain we had Monday night and last night.

Starting at the White Lion on Belgrave Road,  Seaford at 7pm we ride the back way to Bishopstone via Grand Avenue and along the road to Poverty Bottom pumping station. Up the chalky bridleway to Cantercrow Hill and the long fast descent on the back road to the Flying Fish. After some refreshment we take the flatter and easier route home. We expect to be back at The White lion for 9pm.

Last week we had twelve riders with a range of about 60 years between the youngest and oldest ages – that beat the previous week’s record of only 50 years difference in age.

Good bright lights are needed as it’s starting to get dark by the time we arrive at The Fish. Links to route maps are on our first post about these rides. Click HERE to see it.

If you are a regular rider then please be aware that we go very slowly, so you may be hanging around waiting – especially on Cantercrow hill.

See you there?

Andy

andy.lock@cycleseahaven.org.uk

Cycling to Paris

2014-06-07 Notre DameThree of us,  all members of Cycle Seahaven,  recently cycled to Paris along the Avenue Verte. We were part of a group of nine cyclists from the Phoenix Cycling Club whose aim was to follow this signposted route between the British and French capital cities. The signposting had been completed in 2012,  just in time for the London Olympics.

A few of us started in London,  at the London Eye and were joined two days later by the others at Newhaven. The distance was 99 miles.

In France we took three days to cycle from Dieppe to Paris,  a distance of 148 miles which included overnight stops in Dieppe,  Gournay-en-Bray and Cergy. The finishing point in Paris was Notre Dame. We could have done it in two days but decided to take a more leisurely pace,  ie our usual touring pace with lengthy café stops.

I would like to have said that the entire Avenue Verte from the London Eye to Notre Dame had proved to be a good cycle route but that would have been untrue. Certainly,  the first 90 miles in France,  between Dieppe and Chaussy were great. The route was well signposted,  there were no busy roads and the scenery was superb.

In sharp contrast the first 40 miles in England,  between the London Eye and the start of Worth Way,  just outside Crawley,  left much to be desired. Sometimes we were on busy roads,  at other times on dirt tracks and much of the route was poorly signposted. I won’t go into detail here but suffice to say that I’ll never do that part of the Avenue Verte again!

The section from Worth Way to Newhaven was much better with the Cuckoo Trail being the best part of the route that day. However,  it fell a long way short of the first 90 miles in France.

After a rest day in Paris we cycled back to Dieppe on a largely different route with overnight stops at Chantilly and Gournay-en-Bray.

Each cyclist had a copy of the Official Guide to the Avenue Verte which I reviewed in March. It proved to be a great help,  especially when we found ourselves off-route which was on numerous occasions when leaving London and also on the entry to Paris.

It had been a largely enjoyable ride and although some parts of the Avenue Verte couldn’t be described as cycling friendly,  we had had some great times,  both on and off the bikes. And, of course,  a ‘chill out’ day in Paris was a bonus.

I’ll be writing a review of the Avenue Verte which will be posted to the Cycle Seahaven Blog soon. It should make for interesting reading for anyone contemplating cycling to Paris.

Southease to Rodmell Opening Celebration

Saturday 7th June

The weather forecast for rain did not deter the 50 walkers,  horse riders and cyclists who attended the official opening of the Southease to Rodmell section of Egrets Way. This latest section to be completed (also called Phase 2, Phase 1 being the Kingston to Lewes section) starts at a wide gate near Southease bridge, and a lovely all-weather surface follows the river bank before turing left to Rodmell. There is an unmade section in the middle,  but we hope this will be rectified soon. Once at Rodmell you can visit Monks House,  and a little further up the road is the Abergavenny Arms. You can get to the Southease end by train. Visitors to Monks House or the Pub can use their carparks.

Cycle Seahaven were in attendance with their regular ‘Dr. Bike’  tent and three volunteer mechanics – plenty of ‘shed bikes’  were working much better after free air,  oil and a bit of knowledge-sharing on how to tweak a bike. The local policing team were there too, applying security markings to bikes – also free. Abergavenny Arms donated 100 cupcakes (yes, one hundred) to give to the hungry crowds – my favourite being the ones with salt caramel icing. Refreshments were further complemented by the Ouse Valley Cycle Network team who laid on free fruit juice.

The sun soon came out and the day became wonderfully sunny, making the most of the gardens at Monks House (National Trust), which were opened for free to those attending the celebrations. The South Downs National Park Authority were also in attendance, with a huge map and information on how the National Park is being run and developed. Did I mention the price for attending this celebration? Yup, all free.

For those looking to explore this section of Egrets Way here’s a link to Google Map http://goo.gl/maps/obyJX

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Click HERE for more Cycle Seahaven info on Egrets Way and go to http://egretsway.org.uk where you can sign up to support this amazing project.

Another write up http://disabledramblers.co.uk/2014/06/08/egrets-way-opening/