A new scheme to encourage visitors to leave their cars behind and use more sustainable transport when visiting Ashdown Forest was launched by Lib Dem Transport Minister Norman Baker at Uckfield station last Friday.
A co-ordinated bus network has been set up by the Wealden Bus Alliance connecting visitors from local mainline railway stations to the heart of Ashdown Forest.
An Explorer bus ticket allows visitors arriving at one mainline station to catch a bus to Ashdown Forest, and if they want to go walking, pick up a different bus which can take them to another station.
Norman Baker said: “Explorer tickets mean you can leave the car at home and go with friends and family to explore Ashdown Forest.
“This is a wonderful area of open countryside for walking, picnics and wildlife but its rare heathland habitat is under threat from increasing nitrogen deposits caused by a number of sources, including the car. The Forest Explorer bus network allows visitors to enjoy the Forest while keeping pollution to a minimum.”
Wealden MP Charles Hendry said: “We want people to come and enjoy the wonderful scenery and peace of Ashdown Forest but we also need to reduce the impact of the number of car journeys to protect the interests of people living here and the environment. By taking the bus, they can come and enjoy a great day out in a way that looks after our other local needs as well.”
Wealden Bus Alliance chairman Barry Marlowe explained: “The Forest Explorer is a great example of joined up thinking when it comes to transport problems. Visitors can get off a train at Uckfield, East Grinstead, Eridge or Tunbridge Wells, and catch a regular bus to take them to various destinations in the Forest.
They can then catch another bus from the same spot to take them back to the station or use another service to take them to a different mainline station. The stops are at cafes, pubs and attractions, making for an enjoyable day out. These exciting travel opportunities have been be possible thanks to f bus companies: Compass Bus, Metrobus, Brighton and Hove Buses, Stagecoach, the community bus partnership Wealdlink and Southern Railways to provide a better service for the public.”
A Metrobus Family Explorer takes five to the Forest and back to the station for £12.50.