New river bridleway to avoid ‘dangerous’ road at Southease

Southease Village
Southease Village

Egrets Way - a new bridleway through the Ouse Valley from Lewes to Newhaven - came another step closer to reality last Thursday.

Planners from the South Downs National Park Authority approved a new 1,600m multi-user path following the river between an existing bridleway at Rodmell and the South Downs Way at Southease Swing Bridge.

The flat crushed limestone surfaced bridleway will run alongside an existing footpath along the top of the riverbank.

The aim is funding will come from the government’s Paths for Communites scheme, hoping to create new bridleways linking rural communities.

Planners received 27 letters in support of the path.

Officers said: “As existing, the grass surface is not useable for the majority of persons throughout the year and is impractical for cycling along.

They said the C7 ‘due to its layout and speed limit is a deterrent for many potential cyclists and horse riders’.

“The provision of a safe off-road would be of great value to the local community and those visiting the area and act as part of a continuous safe surfaced path linking Newhaven and Lewes.

“The all-weather path would be suitable for horse riders, cyclists, pushchairs and mobility scooters.

“Within a short distance of Southease Swing Bridge is Southease station with rail links to Lewes, Newhaven, Brighton and London and therefore the route would offer an alternative to motor vehicles for commuting.

“At present cycling from Rodmell or the surrounding area to Southease station on the C7is far too dangerous.”

The route will form part of the Ouse Valle Cycle Network and the community-led organisation, formed two years ago to create safe alternative means to car travel, welcomed the news on top of work starting on the Kingston to Lewes section of Egrets Way.

Chairman Neville Harrison said: “We can celebrate the culmination of years of preparatory work by the Kingston/Cranedown group, the vision and commitment of OVCN, Norman Baker’s funding initiative, Sustrans’ belief in the project and Simon Pratt’s willingness to take risk.”

Eastern area manager for the South Downs National Park Authority, Jeremy Burgess said: ““The SDNPA is very keen to continue to support initiatives that deliver safe and sustainable transport alternatives within the National Park.”