Lewes Racecourse.

Lewes racecourse, South Downs.

A gorgeous sunny walk up on Lewes racecourse on the South Downs in East Sussex on the first warm day in May.

Lewes Racecourse shut its doors for the final time in 1964, bringing an end to more than 200 years of history. However it is still an active training centre today and pedestrians and cyclists need to be mindful of racing horses.

The ‘pop up’ Paddock Bar was an unexpected treat and a real pleasure. A bar in a horse box with straw bales for seats. A pint of Sussex cider in the sunshine on the South Downs was a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Hire a mountain bike from Blackcap Bikes: https://www.blackcapbikes.co.uk/

Blackcap Mountain Bike tours and bike hire.

Check out the National Trust walking trail in the Racecourse area; A secluded gem with sunken bostals, a hidden woodland, views over the Weald and fascinating history: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blackcap/trails/a-walk-at-blackcap

Finally have a look at the The Old Racecourse Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/theoldracecourse/ to keep up to date with the area.

The views were amazing and the warm weather and lambs made it feel like Spring had truly arrived. It is definitely a hidden gem and my new favourite place in East Sussex.

The Cuckoo Trail, East Sussex.

The Cuckoo Trail is a 14-mile footpath and cycleway which runs from Hampden Park to Heathfield in East Sussex. It passes through the towns of Polegate and Hailsham, as well as the villages of Hellingly and Horam. The14 mile path through the Sussex countryside forms part of the National Cycle Network – route 21.It follows the old ‘Cuckoo Line’ railway.

Fifty years ago, the Beeching Report was published, spelling the end for thousands of stations and hundreds of branch. Dr Beeching was recruited by the government to make the railways profitable again. By the early 1960s the industry was bleeding millions of pounds a year. His solution was simple – close down the bits that lost the

The Beeching report recommended taking an axe to about a third of the network – 5,000 miles of track, including hundreds of branch lines, 2,363 stations and tens of thousands of jobs. Instead, it would concentrate on the things trains did well. Fast journeys between the cities.Improved bus services could replace branch lines.

Along the trail there are good views of the surrounding countryside and plenty of rest points, as well as benches, picnic tables and sculptures in wood and steel and other artwork to look out for. Don’t miss the Victorian’s engineering skills in the brick arch bridges, between Hellingly and Horam.

We cycled a 40 mile return journey along beautiful countryside. Another cycle trail ticked off the list.