Egrets Way – unsurfaced section


Phase Two of Egrets Way (Southease to Rodmell) still has only half the river bank section surfaced, at the request of the landowner. This makes the full route unsuitable for the young, less experienced and less able unless the ground is hard and worn smooth. Cycle Seahaven contacted the Egrets Way project to see if this was likely to be remedied.

Below is a copy of our letter and the reply.


Dear Sir,
We are disappointed to see that the northern half of the section between Southease and Rodmell remains ‘unsurfaced at the request of the landowner’. This is unfortunate because the unsurfaced section is unsuitable for the inexperienced, young or less able. As an fully inclusive club Cycle Seahaven are unable to recommend this section of Egrets Way to our members or in response to public requests for route guidance. This is a real shame as it renders the surfaced section much less appealing.
Do you know the reasons for not surfacing this part of the new bridleway, and whether there is something the public can do to help make the entire section rideable for everyone?
We would be grateful for your permission to publish your response on our website.
Cycle Seahaven remains strong supporters for OVCN and Egrets Way and we look forward to the opening of a  shared route between Lewes and Newhaven.
Thanks and regards,
Andy Lock
Cycle Seahaven


From the Egrets Way Project Committee
The Egrets Way Project seeks to create a safe shared path linking Newhaven and Lewes alongside the river with connections to communities in the Ouse Valley and to other paths and cycle routes. We have made remarkable progress in just three years with the Kingston to Lewes link opened last September and a bridleway section between Rodmell and Southease opened in June. Last month we were granted planning permission for the whole of the remaining riverside path and, if discussions with landowners to secure the necessary agreements are successful, there is a real prospect of completing further sections in the foreseeable. This is thanks to a government grant awarded to the South Downs National Park to improve cycling in the Park illustrating how the mix of a local community group and a National body working in partnership is critical to success. However even with planning permission granted and funding available the Egrets Way vision can only become reality with the good-will and agreement of landowners.
You ask about the section of the Southease-Rodmell bridleway that remains unsurfaced. We had the funds for this but the landowner involved, whilst agreeing to the creation of a new bridleway, did not want a constructed path. Although a disappointment we should gratefully accept what has been achieved: a new path that cyclists and horse riders can legitimately use where previously there was none. We recognise this may limit its use to summer months for some, but not all, users. For family cycling there is still the opportunity to enjoy a safe cycle ride in tranquil and beautiful countryside using the half mile surfaced section running from Southease Bridge with options of riding on the South Downs Way lane to Southease village or in the other direction to the nearby South Downs YHA with its Courtyard café open to all.
So let’s celebrate and enjoy what’s been achieved, anticipate the completion of further sections in the foreseeable future and hope for the upgrading of any unsurfaced sections in the longer term.
Neville Harrison
Chair Egrets Way Project

Quick tip #2

Wrap duct tape around the body of your bicycle pump and you always have a ready supply to repair torn pockets/clothing, frayed cables, or anything else that breaks or comes loose on a ride. It will even temporarily repair slashed/split tyres and fix a puncture if you keep the pressure low.

Duct tape wrapped around the handle of a pump


Got a tip you want to share? Let us know from our CONTACT page.

Quick tip #1 Quick tip #3

Touring up Chapel Hill

Cyclists in Hampden Park

Cyclists in Hampden Park

Most Sunday mornings,  weather permitting,  some of the more experienced Cycle Seahaven cyclists meet at the Martello Tower on Seaford Promenade at 8.30 am to embark on a ride of which there may be a choice of up to three. There is usually a ride for the tourers,  ie those who prefer to cycle at an average of 12 mph,  sometimes there is also a ride for the intermediate cyclists,  ie those who prefer the slightly faster pace of 13 to 15 mph and occasionally there is a ride for the sportives who cycle at an average of 15 to 17 mph.

Last Sunday twelve cyclists turned up at the Martello Tower of which eight opted for the ‘tourers’ ride and the others for the ‘intermediate’ ride to Chilley Farm Café on the Pevensey Levels. The touring ride was to Hampden Park in Eastbourne,  a round trip of 37 miles and fairly easy going as the route was mostly fairly flat except for Chapel Hill.

Whenever we head inland from Seaford we invariably cycle through Litlington to Wilmington which involves the reasonably significant climb up Chapel Hill between these two villages. However,  the view at the top is stunning so we always take a breather and regroup there. An alternative to climbing up this hill is to cycle along the flatter but rather busy Alfriston Road to the Drusillas roundabout but we feel that the Chapel Hill route is safer and it’s certainly quieter. Also,  it makes one feel good,  even invigorated,  to cycle up at least one real hill on a ride;  as some wag said on Sunday “It’s only a hill. You soon get over it”!

After the hill,  our ride to Hampden Park was easy going. There was no wind and the route was quite flat,  especially the Cuckoo Trail from Hailsham to Hampden Park;  there are some mild undulations after Polegate.

The Lakeside Tea Chalet in Hampden Park is ideal as a cyclists’ café stop. There’s a large terrace outside with plenty of picnic tables and parasols,  prices are reasonable and,  just across the road,  there are bicycle stands to which bikes can be secured.

Our return route was simply a reversal of the route from Seaford to Hampden Park. We had to tackle Chapel Hill again but the climb from Wilmington is tame. Nevertheless we still had a rest at the top,  admired the view and shouted encouraging comments to other cyclists climbing the hill from the Litlington side.

Our touring ride next Sunday will almost certainly include Chapel Hill so if you fancy a bit of a challenge then come along to the Martello Tower at 8.30 am. Details are on the Rides Calendar.

Happy cycling,


New Café Stop

Cyclists at the Waldron Stores Cafe

Cyclists at the Waldron Stores Cafe

In my previous post,  Touring Rides Aplenty,  I explained that our touring rides always include a café stop. Some of the cafes have been visited by us many times so we usually vary the routes to and from them to give variety to our rides. Occasionally we find a café that we haven’t previously visited as was the case this Tuesday.

I had spotted this café when planning a route using Google Maps/Streetview;  I plot all our touring routes on Google Maps. It’s in Waldron,  a village we don’t usually cycle through and clearly we’ve been missing out on a fine café. It’s the Waldron Stores Café which is next to the Star Inn.

Our ride was a round trip of about 40 miles and must rank as one of our most picturesque routes. That said,  all our rides use quiet country roads as much as possible so they are always a delight to cycle along. Six cyclists were on our ride to Waldron which passed through Littlington,  Wilmington,  Arlington,  Berwick,  Chalvington,  Golden Cross and Chiddingly before gradually climbing to Waldron.

After a superb café stop at the Waldron Stores we returned to Seaford on a slightly different route via Lions Green,  Muddles Green and Ripe. It’s a route we’ll certainly use in the future but,  before then,  the Tour of Britain will be going through Waldron although I doubt the cyclists will have time to stop at the café,  not even Wiggo!

Touring Rides Aplenty

Cyclists at The Italian Way in Bexhill

Cyclists at The Italian Way in Bexhill

There have been touring rides aplenty in recent months thanks to the fine weather. These are rides for cyclists who prefer to cycle at a touring pace, ie an average of 12 mph whilst cycling although the actual speed can vary quite considerably during a ride. The ride last Saturday morning was an example of how speeds can vary.

It was to Bexhill and there was a strong westerly wind. We started in Seaford and headed inland through Litlington, Wilmington and Hailsham, then eastwards across the Pevensey Levels to Bexhill. As we cycled across the ‘Levels’ we had a strong tailwind and we often found ourselves travelling at 20 mph without really trying. After a café stop in Bexhill the return trip across the Pevensey Levels was much slower; it was quite hard work just to achieve 10 mph as we cycled into the strong headwind.

This ride to Bexhill was a round trip of almost 50 miles so was one of our longer rides although it always proves popular with cyclists. Normally our touring rides are between 20 and 40 miles and always include a café stop. Recently, our rides have included café stops at Horam, Heathfield, Isfield (at the Lavender Line station buffet), Shoreham Airport, Hampden Park in Eastbourne, Muddles Green, Arlington (at the Tea Gardens) and on the Pevensey Levels (at Chilley Farm café).

There are usually two touring rides a week, on Sunday mornings starting at the Martello Tower at 8.30 am and on Tuesday mornings starting at the entrance to the Seven Sisters Country Park car park in Friston Forest at 9.30 am.

In September we have a ride to Littlehampton planned which will be a round trip of about 70 miles, our longest touring ride of the year.

So, if you fancy cycling at a relaxed touring place and enjoy spending 20 or 30 minutes at a café stop then why not join us. You’d be very welcome.