Plans to enhance the Cuckoo Trail have been agreed by Conservative-run Wealden District Council’s Cabinet committee this morning.
A new three-point strategy has been adopted and outlines a number of exciting proposals for the 11-mile long stretch between Polegate and Heathfield.
Improvements will look to make more of the trail’s railway heritage, develop hubs along the trail, use it as a cycling ‘spine’ route, repair and renew the trail’s infrastructure, target specific groups and activities to make more use of the trial and protect and enhance the route’s existing characteristics.
The Cuckoo Trail – 80 per cent of which is owned by Wealden District Council – is mainly off-road and part of the National Cycle Route 21. It links a number of Wealden’s towns and villages between Heathfield and Polegate and passes through Horam and Hellingly. There is a three mile extension towards Eastbourne via Shinewater Park.
It is used by an estimated 200,000 visitors of all ages each year and users range from children going to school, workers commuting or simply a place for families and friends to take a leisurely stroll or exercise.
Government guidance is encouraging local authorities to get more people walking and cycling for recreation, to improve air quality, mitigate climate change and create desirable places to live and work.
Council officers will now seek external funding through a National Lottery Heritage Fund and use part of Wealden council’s UK Shared Prosperity Funding to deliver the strategy’s priorities.
Councillor Philip Lunn, the council’s portfolio holder for Commercial, Economic Development and Leisure, said, “The Cuckoo Trail is a hugely valuable asset for the district of Wealden providing a green corridor for residents and visitors to move easily, being mainly off-road, between some of the largest towns throughout the south of the district.
“It offers a safe place to exercise, connects people with nature and provides residents with a peaceful and calming environment close to where they live. Furthermore, the trail also continues to support the council in delivering its Corporate Plan objectives, and positively assists businesses by bringing tourists to our district. Connecting communities through the delivery of activities is very important, especially in an area where nature can also flourish. In short, the Cuckoo Trail is one of our most valued assets
“The strategy, evidenced by recent research, sets out a range of exciting opportunities and prospects for improving and promoting the trail, as well as making the most of its heritage – to ensure it continues to be a resource that our residents will be proud of for many years to come.”
Read more about the Trail on the council's website HERE