Egrets Way Ride – Sunday the 22nd of March from 2-5pm. 

The Egrets Way now runs to and through the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve

We are pleased to announce that the construction of the newest section of the Egrets Way network of shared paths has now been completed and that an opening celebration based at the Linklater Centre will be held on Sunday the 22nd of March from 2-5pm. 

This new path, which is available to all non-motorised users, extends the existing Egrets Way route from Ham Lane near the entrance to the Lewes Recycling Centre. It is 800 metres long and runs through a section of privately owned land before passing under the railway line and continuing through the Railway Land where it ends at Railway Lane near the centre of Lewes.  The funding for its construction was provided by the South Downs National Park, the EU Rural Enterprise (LEADER) Fund, Lewes Town Council and private donations made to the Egrets Way project. 

This ‘Signalling Spring’ event is being held in conjunction with the Railway Land Wildlife Trust who are, at the same time, celebrating the opening of their newly refurbished and repurposed Signal Box which has been transformed into a Wildlife Hide.  This will provide the opportunity for Railway Land visitors to enjoy panoramic views of the beautiful water meadows which are home to a host of wildlife.  A loft has also been built into the Hide to encourage bats to roost and nesting boxes have been fixed to the exterior to encourage swifts and swallows to roost there.  Cyclists will be able to use the dismounting point which is alongside the Hide. 

This joint celebration is intended to make people aware of the improved accessibility which the widened and sensitively surfaced route provides for users of all ages and capabilities. There will be a range of family-friendly activities on offer for everyone attending the celebration.

The Egrets Way 

Save your trails before they are lost for good

Over 10,000 miles of paths across England and Wales are at risk of being lost forever unless we make an effort to put them on the map. Cycling UK campaigns officer Sophie Gordon explains how we can save them before they disappear.

Whether you use them for riding, running or walking the dog, our public paths are a gateway to adventure – a way to take time out, connect with nature and explore new places. They bring to life our history and heritage, your path could be an old Roman road or a way used by pilgrims to travel to church. 

However, many of these routes that have been used for centuries aren’t officially recorded on the map, and if they aren’t added by the cut-off date of 2026, they could be lost forever. 

Identifying and recording these lost ways is a huge task, but by combining efforts with individuals and groups all over the country, you can help make sure they are put on the map. 

The clock is ticking 

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW Act) brought in several improvements to public access, like allowing open access on foot on some areas of land and promoting strategic planning of rights of way networks. It also introduced a cut-off date of January 2026 for any rights of way created before 1949 to

be added to the definitive map (the legal record of public rights of way), so the public right to use them would be officially recognised. If these historic paths are not recorded, the legal right to use them will be extinguished in 2026. 

Find out more about how we got to this point. 

Many historic paths may be in frequent use by the public already, but as they are not recorded as rights of way, the landowner is able to close them off at any time. Others might be forgotten and overgrown, but could potentially be a useful route. 

This is particularly significant for off-road cycling and horse riding due to the fragmented nature of the bridleway network. There are many places where adding historic rights of way to the map could form a crucial link between existing rights of way. 

There are other cases where rights of way were incorrectly recorded as footpaths but actually carry higher rights, for example where they were previously used as a road for horses and carriages. Making sure these are recorded correctly could open up more rights of way for cycling.

Adding rights of way to the map 

Proving that a right of way exists involves gathering evidence from historic maps. Any route shown on old maps as a public road or bridle path that doesn’t appear on current Ordnance Survey maps could be a contender. 

Ever spotted one of those odd bridleways that suddenly turn into a footpath at a parish boundary? Chances are the footpath was incorrectly recorded when the council first produced their definitive map, and actually carries higher rights. 

The more evidence you can find to support your claim, the greater the chance of success. Once you’ve gathered all your evidence, you can put in an application to the local authority for a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO). 

Then sit back and pat yourself on the back, but don’t hold your breath – councils have a large backlog of applications and some take years to go through. 

Help and resources 

Researching historic rights of way may seem like a bit of an undertaking, but the British Horse Society and Ramblers have produced some great information and online tools to help steer you through and make life easier.  

Rather than reinventing the wheel, we’ve gathered all the resources here in one place so they are easy to find. 

Changing the status of rights of way

Cycling UK’s briefing is a good place to start for an overview of the processes for recording and upgrading rights of way.

British Horse Society – Project 2026 

  • BHS’s Project 2026 is designed to help groups and individuals start researching and recording lost rights of way, and is as relevant for cyclists as it is for horse riders.  
  • Their Project 2026 toolkit is an excellent place to start for a step-by-step guide to researching historic routes. 
  • Once you’re ready to dive in, there is also a more detailed guide with everything you could wish to know about doing the research and making the application. 
  • To share information and avoid duplicating efforts, BHS has created a mapping tool to help gather evidence and mark routes that an application has been made for. 
  • Financial support is available to recover any costs incurred in researching and making an application, and there are also training sessions for a systematic approach to researching historic rights of way. Both of these are available for anyone researching lost routes, not just BHS members. 

The man behind all of this is Will Steel, BHS’ 2026 project manager. He told us why it is so essential that these routes are protected: 

“Project 2026 is so important as it could be our last chance to safeguard thousands of rights of way that will otherwise be lost at the cut-off date of 1 January 2026.  

“Protecting these routes will help people to get out and about – on a horse or bike, driving a carriage or walking – and experience the natural environment avoiding the ever-busier road network.   

“The missing routes can often be key links in the minor highway network that also provide an opportunity to meet wider objectives around active and sustainable travel. I would really encourage anyone interested to get involved before it is too late.” 

Ramblers – Don’t Lose Your Way campaign 

Jack Cornish, Don’t Lose Your Way programme manager, explained his passion for lost rights of way and why you should get involved:  

“Our paths are one of our most precious assets. They connect us to our landscapes, and to our history and the people who formed them over the centuries.  

“If we lose our paths, a little bit of our past goes with them. This is our only opportunity to save thousands of miles of rights of way and time is running out.  

“Joining our group of citizen geographers is a really easy way to help and by doing so, you’ll become part of the movement that puts these paths back on the map for generations to come.” 

What’s the significance of 2026?

The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 placed a legal requirement on all local authorities in England and Wales to create a definitive map of public rights of way in their area. This process took a long time (decades in some cases), and many rights of way were left off or incorrectly recorded.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 aimed to create some certainty by defining a date when the definitive maps would be deemed ‘complete’ and no more historic rights of way could be added. This was set as 1 January 2026. Any rights of way that existed before 1949 but have not been added to the definitive map by then will be extinguished and the public right to use them will be lost.

In 2001 the Government set up the Discovering Lost Ways project as a systematic research programme to ensure that the definitive maps would be fully complete by the cut-off date. However, the lengthy bureaucracy involved with processing claims for historic rights of way meant that six years later the project was deemed unviable, having not achieved very much in the time since. So the task of researching lost ways and submitting claims was left to volunteers.

The Deregulation Act 2015 was designed to make the process simpler, but five years later it still hasn’t been brought into effect. 

Transport for the Southeast

 

Transport is completely failing us in the fight against the climate crisis. It’s the largest source of climate-wrecking emissions in the UK. And unlike other sectors, such as power, transport emissions keep rising.

But we’ve just been given a chance to turn this around. Transport for the South East has released a new draft strategy to improve transport in the region – and they want to know what you think.

So let’s tell Transport for the South East that their strategy doesn’t go far enough for the health of people or the planet. We have to take this opportunity to get a transport strategy that will improve walking, cycling and public transport and rapidly cut emissions and traffic.

We have until 10 January to have our say. Will you respond to Transport for the South East’s consultation now?

Have your say here

Petition to ESCC to reinstate £5m of Walking and Cycling funding, taken from the 2018/2019 budget.

Cycle Seahaven is one of several local cycling clubs that make up the Cycle East Sussex (CES) Group. We would encourage you to support CES  their bid to try and make East Sussex County Council reinstate £5m of Walking and Cycling funding, taken from the 2018/2019 budget. This is in the light of local councils committing to carbon reduction targets and a shift to active travel.

In 2014 East Sussex County Council made a successful bid to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) for £6M from the (Government funded) Local Growth Fund. to deliver a ‘Package of Walking & Cycling Routes in Hastings & Bexhill between 2018 & 2021′

In 2018 ESCC asked the SELEP to alter the allocation to transfer £3M to fund new road schemes, leaving only £3M for walking & cycling routes. ESCC then budgeted to allocate less than £900,000 for 3 schemes.

If a fair share of the original £6M SELEP funding had been allocated for walking & cycling schemes  it would have enabled almost all of the Hastings Greenway and the walking & cycling routes approved by ESCC and Hastings Borough Council to have been constructed by 2021

Ring fenced Walking and Cycling Capital funding was used to cover an overspend in road building in Hastings and Bexhill. £2m (out of £9m) from Eastbourne & South Wealden and £3m (out of £12m) from Hastings & Bexhill. Now there is only limited funding for a small number of schemes.

ESCC should be supporting active travel by restoring funding, to reduce the carbon footprint and improve the health of the county.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

This e-Petition runs from 03/12/2019 to 14/01/2020.

This is the link. https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=500000030&RPID=503265005&HPID=503265005

 

Have your say on infrastructure deficiencies in our area

South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (SCATE)

SCATE held a very positive meeting with the National Park authority about our Transport Vision and the need to promote more sustainable transport within and to the Park (for the Park’s own sake and for carbon reduction reasons).

SCATE agreed to draw up a network of on road routes that are needed for sustainable transport; primarily for cycling, but can include walking (crossing major roads), bus routes and links to train stations.  This will then be presented to the Park Authority to create an official map and to work with them to achieve changes where they can be made.

So if you know of a missing link that is deterring you, or is very unpleasant or dangerous to use, please let us know about it (you can tell us about as many as you like).  For example, if you live in Lewes you might want to nominate the A273 going out of Lewes through Offham – it’s a fast and busy road and a barrier to people cycling out to Hamsey, or the quiet lanes around Cooksbridge.

Please email Vic Ient on sussexcampaign@gmail.com with your suggestions.  Please name the road and specify the section where you feel something needs to be done.  If possible say what the main issues are and what would make it feel safer and more pleasant to use the route: suggestion! s could include:

  • segregated cycle lanes
  • off-road cycle track
  • lower speed limit
  • green lane implementation (changing the feel of the road to one where walking and cycling are to be expected)
  • better road crossing (could be for people walking as well as cycling)
  • any other suggestions you have 

If you feel a particular location or road should have a bus service (and isn’t currently served) let us know about it and any other infrastructure needed, such as bus stops.  If a place is currently served by bus but poorly and needs improvements, let us know where these are too and what could be improved.

Finally, any trains stations which need better links to the National Park – what deters you or others from using them?

Many! thanks in advance – please share with others who might have suggestions and maybe quiz people who drive too to get a sense of what stops them from leaving their car at home.

Kind Regards

SCATE

Department for Transport pledges £21 million to improve the National Cycle Network in England

Sustrans is excited to announce that the UK Government have pledged an incredible £21 million to improve significant on and off-road stretches of the National Cycle Network.

Money will be put towards many of the England activation projects, working with partners across England, and especially Highways England (who they already work with on the Network) and around the HS2 corridor.

Their vision for the Network is a good one, and a timely one. The Network is an asset for all our nations and regions.

They have set their stall out with honesty and rigour, and provided a clear plan of what they would like to do – not by themselves, but by working with others.

So it’s great to see this approach lead to investment. The Network has attracted considerable investment in Scotland, but it’s been a struggle to get traction in England for some years.

They are now in a position to fund more activation projects and explore new opportunities. They’ll also be looking to attract investment for improvements in Wales, London and Northern Ireland.

You can read more about this investment and what it means for Sustrans and the National Cycle Network on their website.

 

Newhaven pump track and skate park planning committee

We are looking for volunteers to be involved in the planning and design of the new pump track and skate park in Newhaven. If you would like to get involved, please contact Jon Younghusband through Contact Committee.

The first meeting is likely to be on Thursday 27th September at 5 pm, but this has not yet been confirmed.

This exciting development, for which funding has been obtained, really needs the input of local cyclists.

Back the Campaign for Road Safety

Four years ago, the Westminster Government recognised that our road traffic laws weren’t working and promised a full review of traffic offences and penalties. Following this announcement, not much has happened, but an estimated 1,800 pedestrians have died on our roads since 2014, with 99.4% of pedestrian deaths on Britain’s roads involving a motor vehicle.

Now, instead of the full review, the Government has announced they will look just at cycling offences!

Cycling UK sees this limited review as a wasted opportunity to look at the bigger problems with road traffic laws, and the way the justice system deals with irresponsible, careless and dangerous behaviour by all road users. 

That’s why Cycling UK says the Government must widen their review, and especially take action to:

  • Simplify and improve the legal definitions of unsafe driving behaviour
  • Increase the use of driving disqualifications, closing the “exceptional hardship” loophole

Cycle Seahaven invites its members to examine this Campaign and, if in agreement, support it by taking the action suggested.  It will only take two minutes of your time and could, in the long run, save someone’s life, maybe yours.  You don’t have to be a CyclingUK member to take this important action.

Full details can be found HERE

Dr Bike is Back! JUST!

The final two Dr Bike Surgeries run by Cycle Seahaven will be at Seaford on Saturday 6th and Peacehaven on Saturday 20th October.

Ethos:- Bikes out of sheds and back into safe use

What we are:- 

‘Dr Bike’ is a group of cycle enthusiasts from Cycle Seahaven who want to help local people to use their bikes more. If you are not pedalling because of dodgy brakes, stiff gears, rattles, creaks or soft tyres, then bring your poorly cycle to the Cycle Seahaven Dr Bike surgery.

We are all passionate cyclists, some even have maintenance qualifications, but we will give your bike a safety check and try our hardest to get your cycle fixed, so you get back in the saddle!

What we are not :-

We do not offer a fully equipped bike repair shop – The area is fortunate to have two of these already – but we do have the skills, tools & enthusiasm to carry out basic repairs & maintenance.

Cycle Seahaven Dr Bike Activities 2018  from March to October

Seaford Council Offices / Police Station Forecourt first Saturday of the month from 10:00 – 12:15

Big Park Peacehaven third Saturday of the month from 10:00 – 12:15

Any queries or offers of help to Dr Bike via our Contact page