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.