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.