Said I would get it out to you and this is the Cuckoo Trail running North from Hailsham-Where I live. The Cuckoo Trail is built on an old Railway line and was set up by Sustrans many years ago.The section from Hailsham to Heathfield in its early days- Pre Sustran- was ideal for budding mountain bikers. No hard surface and where the damp bits were there was deep mud- all year round. I can remember doing it in 93 on a day that the river was in flood in November and it was hard. At least the bikes got washed off in the river as it was overflowing the trail to a depth of a couple of feet in places. At least we got noticed at Hellingly as we caught the "Remembrance " day service as it left the Church as we were covered from head to foot in mud.
But then Sustrans got hold of this trail and put a hard surface down across the mud- and managed to divert some of the streams that caused a "Damp" problem in places. That ruined it for cycling as 6" of loose packed road scrapings made it hard to pedal along. Gradually the loose surface was tarmacced over to give a good surface for Cyclists- walkers and horses. No motorised vehicles allowed so it was made safe(r) for youngsters to get out and wreck the country side. It was considered such an amenity for local users that it now has a Trail Ranger to patrol the trail and enable work parties to be able to do repairs and maintenance to the trail.
But on to the trail as it is today. This part of the Sustrans network is noted for its Sculptural art. Normally made from materials found on the side of the trail- or used to be- but "Health and Safety" got the better and the bent railway tracks and Signals bent into "Art" have gone by the board after 15 years of vandalism. Instead Local artists have designed and assisted in the making of things like the totem pole. As I said- This was a railway line and the house was the Station for Hellingly Hospital. A Mental institution that had its own branch line. (Must have been busy in the 1800's) The Photo is as it used to be.
Plenty of seats on this trail- and once again made from trees cut down in clearing the trail. They don't just make seats- As you can see- the woodcutters must have had an artistic streak built into them as all the seats were made on site. But Where a tree could not be used as a seat- they left a few in place to adorn the trail.
Only one that had to be re-constructed was decorated like this but there are plenty of bridges on the trail. This one has a cattle crossing running under it And I do wonder how much it cost to fabricate. Not long before you get to the start of the Trail at its Northern End and this barrier system is at at all the road crossings. Supposedly to stop cars gaining access- but They still get lost and find they can't get off the trail again.
To be honest- By the time I had done this trip this morning I was feeling a bit thirsty and annoyed. That trail is used extensively by cyclist's- walkers- Dog walkers- Horse riders and family groups. It was late morning so time for refreshments so off the trail and back to Hailsham by road- Calling in at a local place of refreshment for a well earned Pint. Never been inside this Pub before and won't be going back. All I wanted was a pint and they seemed put out that I was not going to eat there.
Heathfied to Hailsham is only 6 miles on the trail. And Going South it is only 6 miles from Hailsham to Polegate and then a further 4 miles to Eastbourne. Not long by your standards but this is part of a trail network that does run East to West across the country and North to South from Scotland to Dover. I just wish it wasn't aswell used as it is- and that there were less dogs off leads on the thing. Think I'll stay on the roads in Future.