2017 The Cuckoo Trail

A stroll along the Cuckoo Trail, Sussex – from Polegate to Heathfield

25th November 2017

The ‘Cuckoo Trail’ is a 12 mile route, mostly tarmac, following an old railway from Polegate to Heathfield (although there are extensions down to Hampden Park near Eastbourne and north to East Grinstead following the cycle path 21)

The walk was organised and led by Dave Hoben – President Surrey WC and friend of the Centurions.

Report by Kathy Crilley

The plan was to set off from Polegate station at 10:15… however, as we all know, the best laid plans, etc.

It just happened to be the coldest night of the century (according to Southern Rail) and no-one had thought to get the the de-icing spray out. Consequently, a train got stuck between Lewes and Eastbourne..
Dave sent a message to say his train had been diverted to Brighton and he was working his way back to Lewes in the hope of getting to Polegate; Chris Flint sent a message to say he was stuck in Eastbourne and then when I reached Lewes, the train driver announced everything was back to normal… but…. the train would not stop at Polegate..(or Eastbourne)…. just managed to jump off in time….

The station supervisor at Lewes, however, was magnificant. He ordered taxis for the stranded passengers and after a 15 minute wait I was on my way to Polegate. Thank you Seb.  Chris arrived more or less the same time as I did. Steve Kemp, George Beecham along with their friend John arrived by car.  And off we went (albeit 30 minutes late…)

The Cuckoo Trail is conveniently signposted at the station and indeed throughout the whole walk. It was a pleasant walk out of the town and the first 3 miles to Hailsham was taken at a gentle pace which is where Steve, George and John left us to return to Polegate. The late start had scuppered their plans.

Fast traffic coming through…

Despite the cold, we soon warmed up as the pace quickened  – well we were getting quite hungry by now! The 30 minute lunch stop was a really nice cafe in Horam, just off the trail, where we stocked up on carbohydrates, tea and coffee. Only two miles to the finish in Heathfield .. and another cafe and another cup of tea. We had hoped to get the 15:33 bus back to Polegate but it never turned turned up so we did have rather a cold wait at the bus stop for the next one (which fortunately did turn up!)

It was a very pleasant day out and many thanks for Steve, George, John, Chris for making the long journey to Polegate. Also, many thanks to Dave for organisng and leading the walk.

It introduced a part of Sussex not seen by us before and it would make a really great training day out – especially if the extension routes were added on.