The Cuckoo Trail – 8am to 4.30pm
This months ladies ride is a little later in the month. As Cycling UK celebrates the women’s festival of cycling this month, it’s something a little different – we’re riding the Cuckoo Trail!
The Cuckoo Trail is a 14-mile footpath and cycleway which runs from Hampden Park in the south, to Heathfield in East Sussex. It passes through the towns of Polegate and Hailsham, as well as the villages of Hellingly and Horam.
Cycling UK Says:
The Women’s Festival of Cycling returns in 2019 and events take place throughout the UK in July. We’ll be raising the profile of women’s cycling, putting on events to encourage more women to cycle, and featuring the women in cycling who inspire others. Join us and celebrate the fun, friendship and freedom that cycling provides.
To celebrate the Women’s Festival of Cycling this year Cycle Seahaven is hosting a ride from Heathfield, Sussex, along the Cuckoo Trail back towards Seaford. Bikes will be transported from Seaford to Heathfield using the club’s trailer, which will limit the number of riders to no more than 20. Early booking is therefore recommended. The ride is predominantly off road but on terrain that would be suited to hybrid bikes with the appropriate tyres. The ride is approximately 30 miles long across relatively flat ground. The group will stop at the Arlington Tearooms for refreshments along the way. If you require further details please contact the ride leader, Sarah Winser…
The bikes will be transported to the starting point at Heathfield via the club trailer, therefore there are limited spaces for this event if you require transportation. Book your place now by contacting Sarah Winser via the ride leaders page.
There will be two stops on this ride – one at Hellingly (bring your own snack and drink), and then lunch at Arlington Tea Gardens (cards accepted).
The ride will be at the pace of the slowest rider and is suitable for MTB, Hybrids & E-bikes, riding over a mix of tarmac, gavel and grass.
As always, a helmet must be worn and a spare inner tube, pump, bike lock and lights should be brought.
The Trail largely follows the route of a disused railway line, the Cuckoo Line, which opened in 1880 and ran between Eridge and railway stations, creating a direct route between Eastbourne and London. It obtained its name from the tradition that the first cuckoo in Spring was heard at the Heathfield Fair. The line closed in 1968 under the programme of closures put forward by Forest Row resident and British Transport Commission Chairman Richard Beeching.
In 1981 the route of the old railway line to the south of Heathfield was purchased by Wealden District Council and East Sussex County Council. From 1990 Sustrans developed the route along with District Council and the County Council into a shared track for walkers and cyclists, with horses also allowed on some sections. An extension was constructed to the south into Eastbourne and the trail became part of National Cycle Network Route 21. The Trail is currently used by around 200,000 people per year and serves as a traffic-free route between several local schools. It is jointly managed by the latter in conjunction with East Sussex County Council.
Along the route of the Trail are six original sculptures which act as mileposts. In May 1993 a dozen wooden benches were installed which had been hand-carved by a local artist out of trees felled during the Great Storm of 1987. In 2003 a five-year £65,000 package of grants for improvements to the Cuckoo Trail was awarded as part of the Woodland Grant Scheme. Part of these funds went towards the resurfacing of the Trail as far as Heathfield in October 2006.
Ladies Lunch to Litlington Tea Gardens
This month’s ride, a week earlier than normal, will meet on the cycle path at the bottom of Edinburgh Road, next to the ice cream van at 11am. We aim to be back by 5pm.
A longer ride again this month, you’ll be passing through cow and sheep fields and sharing our route with walkers, dogs, horses and fellow cyclists… and sharing the Tea Room with a peacock!
On what can be a beautiful route at this time of year, the ride will take you up to Bo-Peep and on to Firle car park. At the bottom of Firle Bostal, you’ll take a right onto the Old Coach Road where, along this ancient old road you’ll find The Beanstalk Tea Garden.
Visited this gem for lunch with a friend. We both had dietary requirements which they willingly accommodated. The little nah salad was delicious and the coffee and cake was excellent. Very peaceful part of the countryside too.
The return will be to continue along the OCR to Ariston and emerge onto the quiet Littlington Road. You’ll then turn right onto a short section of the A259 to cross over Exceat Bridge and into the Cuckmere Haven car park. It’ll then be off road into Seaford where the quiet roads will bring you back to the Seafront for your return to Edinburgh Road.
Depending on the weather conditions, the route may change.
Amazing little idyllic corner of Sussex – like out of some fairly tale. Piles of cakes in the sunshine in a filed with a peacock squawking! Best place I’ve been all year.
The route is suitable for MTB’s, Hybrids & e-bikes with knobbly tyres. Essential kit, as always, includes: your helmet, a drink, a spare inner tube, pump, lights & lock.
As last month, this route is a little more adventurous than the winter routes. Although the ride will always be paced at the speed of the slowest rider, and everyone supports each other, the 217m climb to Firle isn’t for beginners! If you have any concerns about this, contact either of the Ride Leader’s: Sarah Winser or Kate Carver from the Ride Leaders contact page, and they’ll be happy to help and guide.
The ride will be leaving at 11am from the meeting point at the bottom of Edinburgh Road (next to the cycle path where the ice cream van parks), and will aim to return at approximately 4.30pm.
Essential kit, as always, includes: your helmet, a drink, a spare inner tube, pump, lights & lock.
This months route will encounter grass, concrete, gravel, tarmac and depending on the weather, mud. Making it suitable for MTB & Hybrids with knobbly tires.
Leaving the meeting point, the ride will head into Seaford and towards Seaford Golf Club. The concrete road will take you up onto the downs where you’ll head towards Bo-Peep and Firle along part of The South Downs Way. Once you’ve reached Firle it’ll all be down hill (almost!) via Itford to the lunch stop. Depending on weather conditions, this could change.
The return will be via the much less hilly Egretts Way / Ouse Estury route, which will, as part of the cycle route, take in a short part of the C7.
This route is a little more adventurous than the winter routes. Although the ride will always be paced at the speed of the slowest rider, and everyone supports each other, the 217m climb to Firle isn’t for beginners! If you have any concerns about this, contact the Ride Leader Sarah Winser from the Ride Leaders contact page, and she’ll be happy to help and guide.
One thing (weather permitting, of course!) guaranteed, are fabulous views from The South Downs Way across the flatlands below to the High Weald in the distance. On a clear day you can see over 40 miles in a 360° panorama from the top.
As the ride is on the Downs, there’s every chance that we’ll be sharing our route with other cyclists, pedestrians, horses and dogs, and of course those that live there: cows and sheep. Be prepared for your bike not being perfectly clean on your return!
The Ladies Rides go out on the second Saturday of the month and are more of a social affair, than aiming to cover the route in as fast a time as possible! If you’ve just joined, or are thinking of joining the club, then a Ladies Ride could be the perfect way of getting to know others. Sarah is a wonderful ride leader and will put you at your ease from the moment you arrive, or contact her. What’s to loose?!