Slideshow: Lewes Hike and Bike Festival goes up a gear

With double the number of events, the Lewes Hike and Bike Festival was better than ever before.

Organisers deemed the festival a success with plans to repeat the event next year, as long as funding from sponsors can be secured.

Cyclists at Black Cap near Lewes.

Cyclists at Black Cap near Lewes.

Event founder Steve Ranger said: “The festival has been a great success, some walks and rides were not as popular as we had hoped and others exceeded our expectations.

“We learnt a lot and are already making plans for next year.

“The important thing is that people now know that Lewes is a great place to start exploring the heart of the South Downs and that there are some fantastic places that are easy to get to just by walking and cycling.”

Hundreds of people browsed the festival fair in Cliffe Precinct on Saturday May 31.

Stall holders included cycling and walking groups, traders and organisations like the South Downs National Park Authority and East Sussex County Council, who reported that the fair was busier than ever before.

Lewes MP Norman Baker said: “The South Downs was made for cycling and walking and I believe the Lewes Hike and Bike Festival really helps residents and visitors to Lewes explore them.”

One of the busiest stands was the Dr Bike where visitors could have minor repairs done.

Around 200 people joined walks and rides, more than double the previous year, with the Lewes History Walks fully booked.

There were 27 walking, cycling and evening events this year compared with 15 in the first year of the festival.

Festival spokesperson Brian Deval added: “The main thing was that the website was far more active and we used a lot more social media to grow the audience. In addition the festival fair was moved into the middle of Lewes so more people were able to get involved.

“Next year we would certainly want to involve more people who weren’t already keen walkers and cyclists.

“We would also want to involve more people from out of Lewes.”