Popular trail between Polegate and Heathfield in line for improvements

Wealden District Council will look to take ownership all of the Cuckoo Trail as part of a new improvement plan.

Approved at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (July 13), the council’s new Cuckoo Trail Strategy sets out aims to invest in, promote and conserve the 11-mile route between Polegate and Heathfield.

As part of this, the council will be seeking National Lottery funding and using part of its share of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to support a number of future initiatives. While not yet specified, the strategy says these include public art, biodiversity and active travel projects.

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.

Cuckoo Trail

Philip Lunn, portfolio holder for commercial, economic development and leisure, described the Cuckoo Trail as a ‘hugely valuable’ asset for Wealden, providing a green corridor for residents and visitor, offering a safe place to exercise, connecting people with nature and acting as a peaceful and calming environment close to where people live.

It is also seen as an excellent draw for tourists.

Mr Lunn added: “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.”

Currently WDC owns around 80 per cent of the trail, with the remaining 20 per cent owned by East Sussex County Council. However, according to a report considered by cabinet, ‘early conversations’ are now underway to bring the entire trail under WDC ownership.

Raymond Cade, cabinet member for housing and waste, said: “Having lived in Heathfield for nearly 30 years, I know how important and how popular the Cuckoo Trail is.

“I think a refurbishment to this very important asset will be very well met by local residents.”