Wealden District Council
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Proposed cycleway linking Uckfield and Lewes to be explored

Publish Date: 13 May 2024

A new cycle and pedestrian route which would run alongside the old railway line between Uckfield and Lewes is currently being explored.

a blue sky with a cycle and pedestrian sign in front of it

Wealden District Council and other partners are joining forces for the project, which could provide an off-road surfaced route, similar to the existing Cuckoo Trail and Forest Way for walking, cycling and wheeling.

The nine-mile route will potentially link the two towns of Uckfield and Lewes and create an alternative cycling route to the A26 between the two towns, joining Isfield and Barcombe directly. The Greenway would form an important “green link” between the towns and villages along the route and support leisure journeys as well as commuter journeys, linking tourism hotspots such as the Lavender Line, The Laughing Fish, Barcombe Mills and the Anchor Inn on the River Ouse.

At a meeting of Wealden council’s Cabinet Committee this week, councillors agreed to move forward with the scoping exercise, which will be undertaken by Greenways and Cycleroutes, a charitable organisation.

The former Uckfield to Lewes train line opened in 1858 to goods and passenger traffic, with stations at Isfield and Barcombe Mills but was closed in 1969 south of Uckfield. The route is safeguarded by protective policies within the current Local Plan that prevent any development which would significantly prejudice the reinstatement of the former railway line to Lewes in the future.

Councillor Ian Tysh, Alliance for Wealden (Green Party) and lead councillor for Planning and Environment, said, “We are in the very early stages of this exciting project. If the proposed scheme becomes viable, it will make a contribution towards achieving climate change goals for the council’s net-zero strategy and the wider Wealden environment. We are always looking to improve residents’ lives and improve overall wellbeing and mental health.”

Councillor Emily O’Brien, Cabinet Member for Climate, Nature & Food Systems at Lewes District Council said, “There are many potential benefits for local people from cycleways, so I’m delighted that this is being fully assessed.

“However, it is just one first step to see how a new cycleway can be designed without hindering any future opening of the rail link.”