December 2020


All over Europe, train times tend to change twice a year, in mid December and mid June.  This year train times will change on 13th December.

Southern has announced that trains will start earlier in the morning than previously on lines through Lewes and that there will be more trains between Lewes and Brighton on Saturdays.

But there will be fewer direct trains to London late morning on weekdays.

Between 10.27 and 13.27 direct trains to Victoria will only leave Lewes at 27 minutes past the hour, taking around 69 minutes

Otherwise you can go via Brighton at 43 minutes past the hour, changing at Brighton and taking 86 minutes

Coming back, between 11.54 and 14.54  there will only be direct trains from Victoria to Lewes at 54 minutes past the hour, taking 62 minutes

You can also travel via Brighton leaving Victoria at 29 minutes past the hour taking 78 minutes.

It is quicker coming back because it is downhill, London being at the top of the map.

Cooksbridge and Plumpton will have a two hourly service.

There are a lot of advance fares around at the moment, but they are not valid via Brighton.  All other tickets are valid via Brighton.

Thanks to Kevin Froude for pointing this out.

For full details see National Rail Enquiries


Fares will increase from the beginning of January, so it might be worth buying your tickets for travel next year in December.


For the time being, if you decide not to travel, you can get a refund on many tickets without paying an administration fee.  You can even, in limited circumstances, get a voucher for an advance ticket if you decide not to travel.  See here


Just at the moment no-one wants to travel on a crowded train.  The railway company has a number of way you can see if your train will be crowded.  See here


At the time of writing, holiday trains had not yet been finalised, but there will be no trains on Christmas Day and only a very limited service, probably Brighton to London on Boxing Day.

COMPASS TRAVEL and other bus live times

Last month Travelman was raving about the Mytrip app, which shows Compass buses moving in real time, so you can watch them roll up the High Street.

Time has brought a certain disillusion, because although the app shows you where the buses are, it does little else.  Discovering where your 125 bus is can involve scrolling on the map all the way to Eastbourne, and it doesn’t tell you what time your bus is likely to reach your stop.

However the web site at now gives you live times for both Brighton and Compass buses. It tells  you when buses are likely to arrive at your stop.  It also gives you scheduled train times and enables you to plan journeys that involve both train and bus journeys and helps you to see whether you would be quicker doing your journey on the train or on the bus.

Note that the web site www.traveline south east has now closed.


In 2016 a private sign was put up at the Clevedown development on Brighton Road even though Winterbourne residents had been using the path through the development for years as a cut through to the bus stop. Travelman applied for the route to be acknowledged as a public right of way.

The council agreed, but there were objections, so the matter had to be decided by the Planning Inspectorate.

In November a planning inspector confirmed that it is indeed a right of way. The route has been added to the rights of way map and the private sign has come down.

Find out how to claim a right of way here


This month Travelman suggests you visit Hastings.  It has the lowest covid rate in Sussex, is easily reached on the train, and has great varied walking.  Mostly dry underfoot

Wandering around St Leonards
Sea, street art, (including a Banksy)  fabulous regency architecture,grand art deco, aristocratic parkland, the rich, the poor, the trendy and all within a kilometre of St Leonards Station! 5.46 Km / 3.39 Miles, hilly.  Can be reduced to about 2.5 miles.

Or…. What?
A Hastings Town and Country walk of 12km, 7.5 miles starting from Ore Station., Hastings Country Park,  the Old Town and Ore.  Can be reduced to a country walk of about 5 miles or a town walk of about 4 miles.

Civic Pride, Grey Owl and a Scandal in Bohemia
Wild woodlands, a classic park, a secret chine- this is the Hastings (and St Leonards) that most visitors don’t see. Alexandra Park, St Helens Woods, Old Roar, Bohemia, Summerfields.  Plus a visit to the seaside to see the pier, 7 miles starting from Hastings Station.  It is possible to shorten the walk to about 3 miles of largely urban walking

Ore and More
A very varied walk, exploring the urban and rural facets of North East Hastings, including the amazing Specked Wood, the panoramic views from North Seat, the countryside north of the Ridge, and the atmospheric ruins of the Old St Helens Church.


You have only until 11th December to contribute your views on this here

Cycle Lewes has come up with some suggestions for things you might want to say.

They comment:

It’s important that everyone completes the questionnaire.  The consultation closes on 11th December, if you can’t do it immediately, please add this as a task to your calendar.   ESCC needs to hear our individual voices as well as collectively as Cycle Lewes that we want: 

  • a reduction in speed across whole of town from Gateways at all entrances and its enforcement
  • Cycle routes separated from other modes of travel
  • Traffic free neighbourhoods, our  town
  • Greater priority for cyclists at junctions and crossings
  • Direct cycle routes, including connections for villagers around Lewes to have an option to cycle into our Town
  • Attractive traffic free spaces in town centres
  • More signing
  • Cycle training, information and initiatives

Most, if not all of us are pedestrians so please consider completing those question related to walking too these are questions 10-12.”

Cycle Lewes has also analysed some of the individual questions and has the following suggestions:

Beginner’s guide to Consultation Questionnaire

This hyperlink provides access to ESCC’s consultation documents:

This in turn provides a link to ESCC’s online survey and below this a list of 28 supporting documents, the first of which is the LCWIP Draft Summary October 2020. Pretty daunting! Fortunately you won’t need to read most of them if you follow the guidance below.

The introductory information advises that it is necessary only to read the LCWIP Draft Summary document “this will provide you with enough information to answer the questions”. You may also find it useful to look at Appendix 5B (Sustrans report).
Here are the relevant pages for Lewes:

LCWIP Draft Summary
Page 12 LCWIP areas
17, 18 Cycling map and routes

Appendix 5B Sustrans report
Pages 1 – 37

The LCWIP Draft Summary on pages 10/11 sets out eleven county-wide ‘issues’ and eleven ‘opportunities’.

Issues relevant to CL (as well as Lewes Living Streets:

  • Safety issues – volume and speed of traffic.
  • Town centres dominated by traffic movements, impacting on ambiance, safety and air quality.
  • Reluctance to cycle on the road due to fear of conflict with vehicular traffic.

Opportunities relevant to CL (as well as Lewes Living Streets)

  • Focus on town centre and high street regeneration – prioritise cycling, walking and public transport, integrated with inclusive access.

You may find it instructive to look at ESCC’s proposals for Lewes and to consider how well (or badly) these respond to the above challenges.

Thus briefed, you should now be able to complete the online survey. Do use the final box on page 5 to make any comments of your own, perhaps making reference to the ‘issues and opportunities’ above.

More detailed notes

Page 2
Q4 – ‘Do you agree with the geographic areas…?’
The map  in the Summary Document on page 12, Fig. 3 shows East Sussex divided into 4 ‘Coastal Areas’ and 2 larger ‘Rural Areas’. Lewes is located in the area designated ‘Lewes and South Downs’ which for reasons that escape me is in turn divided into 2 discrete areas separated by a chunk of Newhaven. Lewes town is in the area to the west, effectively the Ouse Valley, which runs down to the back of Newhaven. ‘The Downs’ is effectively the Cuckmere Valley and includes the Seven Sisters Country Park. It is illogical to try to create a coherent network for pedestrians and cyclists that covers both areas – each needs its own network.

We will be answering ‘No’ to this question, for the reasons set out above.

Page 4
Proposed Cycle Network Maps
Question 5 – Does the proposed network connect with the places that local people may wish to travel for everyday journeys?

Tick the ‘Lewes’ box (more if you wish) and use the box below to comment
Fig. 6 on page 17 (Summary Document) shows ‘Lewes proposed cycle network’
Generally the routes proposed appear logical ‘providing more strategic links to the National Cycle Network, together with links to nearby settlements and supporting access to local facilities.’

14 routes appear in the key (L1 – L14), although only 13 are described in the schedule; there are a number of anomalies which are set out below.

The map is small scale and contains many discrepancies:

  • ‘Southover Gardens’ is shown close to the bypass. Is Grange Gardens intended? If so it is in the wrong location.
  • Similarly Priory School is shown in the wrong location
  • Wallands School is shown in the Nevill – it’s in Wallands!
  • The Leisure Centre and Pells Pool should be shown.

L1 A27 and Lewes Town Centre
This is effectively Regional Cycle Route 90 and follows the old route of the A27 through the centre of Lewes. We strongly support this, especially the east bound section down School Hill.
L2 Ringmer – Southease
The section south of Lewes is shown on the east side of the river. It presumably follows the Egrets Way and should therefore be on the west side.
L3 South Downs Way – Lewes
Only a short section appears on the map, along Southover High Street/Mountfield Road. Is this correct, and how does it connect to the SDW?
L4 Montacute Road – Town Centre
This is presumably the ochre route on the map, except that it is labelled L5. Clarification?
L5 South Downs – Spital Road
This appears to be incorrectly labelled on the map – it runs to Montacute Road. Is L6 intended – it runs down Spital Road?
L6 South Downs – Station
See L5 above. Only a short section is shown, from Spital Road up to the racecourse. This is not a suitable cycle route at present.
L7 Ditchling – Cooksbridge
Only a short section of the Offham Road is shown. No route to or between either village is shown.
L8 A27 – Swanborough
Swanborough is miss-spelled in the schedule. L9 on the map appears to be L8 – which is correct?
L9 Lewes – Southease
Is this L10 on the map?
L 10 Nevill – Southover Cooksbridge – Lewes Riverside
L10 on the map shows Lewes – Southease. No sign of Nevill – Southover. Why is Cooksbridge – Lewes Riverside lumped in here? It appears again in L12.

L11 Offham – Town Centre
Offham is shown in the wrong location on the map – it is south of the level crossing. What is a bit of L8 doing here? And where is L11?
L12 Cooksbridge – Lewes Riverside
This is presumably the byway to the east of the A275. Not currently cyclable in the winter months.
L13 Malling – Southover
On the map this appears to be the Hamsey – Lewes route along the line of the former railway.
L14 – appears in the legend, but nowhere else.

Question 7 – For what type of trips would you usually cycle for all or part of your journey?

Question 8. – Do you experience any barriers which prevent you from cycling? Please select yes, or no using drop down box. 

  • Quality of route
  • Busy roads
  • Feeling unsafe
  • Difficult junctions to cross
  • Not enough information on possible routes
  • Personal safety
  • Cost of owning a bike
  • Confidence
  • Other, please state

Question 9 – After the consultation on the LCWIP we will develop a long-term programme of improvements for cycling. To help inform the types of measures we should consider including, what would encourage you to cycle more? Please tick all which are applicable.

We’ll be ticking all boxes and under ‘other’ calling for reduction in speed across whole of town from Gateways at all entrances and its enforcement

  • Cycle routes separated from other modes of travel
  • Traffic free neighbourhoods – including road closures
  • Greater priority for cyclists at junctions and crossings
  • Direct cycle routes
  • Attractive traffic free spaces in town centres
  • More signing
  • Cycle training, information and initiatives
  • Other – please state

Question 13. – Please provide any further comments you wish to make in relation to the East Sussex Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan

We suggest you consider including:

The ESCC Draft Summary clearly identifies as major issues:
·     volume and speed of traffic
·     town centres dominated by traffic movements, impacting on ambiance, safety and air quality.
·     reluctance to cycle on the road due to fear of conflict with vehicular traffic.

Of all the towns in East Sussex, these issues impact most adversely on Lewes.  The Draft Summary calls for a focus on town centre and high street regeneration, prioritising cycling, walking and public transport.

Yet the proposals set out in the Draft Summary completely fail to address these major problems in a co-ordinated and effective way. They ignore the recommendations of their own consultants (Sustrans) and the implications – and opportunities – of Covid-19.

In addition our District has declared a Climate Emergency where transport, especially use of private cars make up 37% of our carbon emissions.  Lewes already has 2 areas in the centre of the town that are designated Air Quality Management Areas where emissions are above the recommended limits we do not need more, we need to eliminate those we have.

Any plan for Lewes must have meaningful measures to meet the Districts Climate Change Strategic goals one of which is reducing resident reliance on the car.

Connecting to our villages and rural network
We also need to reinforce the need to have high quality routes in and out of Lewes connecting to our surrounding villages like Barcombe, Cooksbridge, Hamsey, Glynde and Firle.

The only dedicated route is the Lewes to Ringer, we are still waiting for the completion of the link from Lewes to link up the Egrets Way.

Building good high quality cycling infrastructure would allow those residents that want to cycle to and from those villages to do so safely and avoid more motor traffic in Lewes and more pressure on parking.

Finally, we want to see more investment in Lewes, a town that has been neglected for far too long.

ESCC propose instead only minor mitigations that are unlikely to produce any meaningful improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and the community at large.