Wealden District Council is in talks with app-based cycle rental company Countrybike about bringing new opportunities for visitors to the11-mile Cuckoo Trail
“As part of our continued commitment to increase the health and wellbeing of Wealden residents, we are looking to introduce a new bike rental scheme,” said Councillor Claire Dowling, Cabinet member for Public Health & Community Safety at Wealden District Council. “We are looking to provide the service along the beautifully scenic Cuckoo Trail which links three of the District’s larger towns: Heathfield, Hailsham and Polegate.
“The Cuckoo Trail is an old railway line. It is reasonably level and mainly off-road and is perfect for cyclists of all levels, particularly families.”
Discussions are underway with Countrybike, who currently run a number of schemes in the north of the District. These enable people to rent bikes by paying a fee via an online app.
“If an arrangement can be reached, the Council hopes to install the bikes at a number of locations. It will be open to both visitors and locals who will be able to pick up and drop off the bikes at any of the locations. It will be a great way to see some of the District’s fantastic countryside,” added Councillor Dowling.
David Chennell, Community and Regeneration Officer, said no decision has yet been taken. But if all goes well, the scheme is expected to be put in place by spring 2019.
Countrybike is a local company started by husband and wife team Tim and Suzy Seddon in 2017. It has bikes based at 11 locations in the countryside including a number of locations across Ashdown Forest.
“By using internet-enabled locks and a mobile app, the technology allows us to place bikes remotely. There is no need for someone to be there to facilitate their hire and return,” said Mr Seddon. “This in turn enables us to open up the countryside to bike hire in a way that simply has not been possible in the past.
“This opportunity fits well with our strategy to open up cycling to those wishing to explore the local countryside. It would also see a natural evolution of the business to place bikes more permanently along the Trail, rather than just deliver bikes on demand.“
Earlier this year Wealden District Council installed new marker posts at every mile of the Cuckoo Trail so users could track how far they had walked or ridden.
A leaflet about the Cuckoo Trail can be downloaded from the Cuckoo Trail page on the Wealden website. http://www.wealden.gov.uk/Wealden/Leisure/Attractions_and_Places_to_Visit/Tourism_Cuckoo_Trail.aspx