Wednesday, 12 May 2010

HOME :: Travel-and-Leisure / Destination-Tips The Cuckoo Trail - Walking Or Cycling in East Sussex

The Cuckoo Trail in East Sussex goes between Eridge and Polegate, and, like many cycle routes around the UK, follows the route of an old railway line that closed down. Another instance of this happening is the Tarka Trail in Devon. The route originally opened in the 1880s, and it was whilst trains still ran upon the tracks that it became known as the Cuckoo Line. Supposedly, the first cuckoo of the year was heard at the Heathfield fair, and as the line had created a direct route for people in London to reach Heathfield and enjoy the fair every year, it became known as the Cuckoo Line.

The trains stopped running along it in 1968, but it wasn't until the 1990s that work began to remove the remains of the tracks and convert the route into something for walkers and cyclists. Once this did happen, the name "Cuckoo Line" was no longer fitting, and so "Cuckoo Trail" became used instead, much as the "Tarka Line" in Devon became the "Tarka Trail".

Unfortunately, the complete Cuckoo Line was not converted into a smooth path due to the unwillingness of owners of some of the sections of track to part with it. What there is to walk along is still excellent though, and walkers, cyclists and horse riders of all ages regularly make use of the route. There are plenty of benches installed by the council, as well as uniquely sculpted signposts set along the trail. This means that should anybody become tired, it won't be long until there's somewhere to sit down and take a load off. The regular benches and beautiful views also make the trail perfect for a picnic.

As the entire line remains unusable, the Cuckoo Trail hasn't been joined with another trail nearby called The Forest Way. The hope had been that the two could be joined and become one of the better parts of the National Cycle Network, which aims to have routes all around the UK which join up for cyclists and walkers to enjoy, and which will minimise the danger that roads prove to both.

The article was written by Tom Sangers on behalf of Flackley Ash Rye Hotel, an East Sussex hotel.

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