July 2021


The long awaited and lobbied for flexi-season tickets have been announced and what a disappointment they are.

Various groups have been campaigning for years for tickets to benefit those who make journeys regularly, but not every day of the week.  Season ticket rates have been set so that people who make a journey 3 times a week or more benefit from buying traditional season tickets that enable you to travel 7 days a week.

The government and train companies had been strangely reluctant to introduce flexi seasons and now only seem to be doing this reluctantly when faced with the prospect of people commuting part time in large numbers post-covid.  But what a grudging offer it is!

Before we look at the fares we have to factor in these restrictions:

  • Flexi tickets are not available for any journey involving underground or other Transport for London services.
  • They are not available for journeys solely in the London oyster card zone.
  • You have to buy 8 daily tickets which must be used within 13 weeks.
  • You cannot carry any tickets over when the 13 weeks expires.
  • If you do not use some of your tickets you can claim a refund, but there will be a fee of up to £10 for this and the refund will be calculated using the figure you would have paid buying individual peak rate tickets, so you will often get no refund at all.
  • There are no railcard discounts
  • Unlike an annual season, the tickets do not count as a railcard for journeys to other places.

Then we have to look at the fares. There is now a further level of fares complexity. As an example here is a comparison using Lewes to Victoria:

Anytime return, per day £57.50
Off peak return available from 08.57, per day £32.60*
Anytime return to Aldershot (gets you to and from Clapham Junction, buy extra ticket from there to you destination), £31.80.
Annual season ticket £4712.00 (£18.14 a day if you make 260 return journeys a year, more if fewer)
Monthly season ticket £452.40 (£20.90 a day if you make 22 journeys in the month, more if fewer.
Flexi season £361.90 for 8 journeys (£45.23 per day if you use all the tickets in the period, more if fewer journeys are made.)
Weekly season £117.80 (£23.56 per day if you make five journeys.

*= further railcard deductions available.

If you travel up to London in the peak period but come back outside of the evening rush hour it may be worth buying two single tickets, especially if you have a railcard.


There has been increasing dissatisfaction with the small amount of land that the public can access, with particular concerns about the very small amount of land available on the South Downs.

There will be a mass trespass on the Brighton Downs on Saturday 24th July, with a preceding webinar on Thursday 15th July to debate the issues of access to our countryside.

Check out these links below and make sure you SIGN UP at the website for further updates and informationThe day will be peaceful and fun, and with new delights to see.

Website: www.landscapesoffreedom.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/landscapesoffreedom
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LandscapesofF
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/landscapesoffreedom/


The government has made some good noises on bus services recently. CPRE is campaigning to turn the fine words into action.  The organisation says:

“In the recent National Bus Strategy, the government called for everyone to have access to cheap, reliable and quick bus journeys and a fund of £3 billion is being invested to make this vision a reality.

In order to bid for this money, we understand that East Sussex County Council will need to develop a vision for expanded bus services and infrastructure through a Bus Services Improvement Plan (BSIP.) The government is requiring local authorities to produce their BSIP by October this year, and we recognise that this is a very challenging timeline.

To successfully secure government funding to level up our bus services we know that East Sussex County Council must produce a highly ambitious BSIP. Meeting the needs of rural communities will be a key part of this.
As local campaigners who have long been focused on the needs of our local area, we believe we can provide valuable insights and proposals to help East Sussex County Council develop a BSIP that will:

  • • enhance existing bus services
  • • introduce new services to strengthen the network
  • • seek potentially fruitful bus/rail integration
  • • offer attractive fares and convenient, flexible ‘ticketing’
  • • identify and reach all potential user groups to underpin service viability
  • • improve reliability and patronage through bus priority measures and improved information services
  • • ensure high quality public transport options are included in new housing developments at the planning stage to avoid ‘car dependent’ communities

We want to help you develop a BSIP that will benefit both rural and urban bus users while also increasing the attractiveness of the bus as a low carbon alternative to the private car, at all stages of life.

We would like to offer our support to councillors, officers and bus operators, and to contribute constructively to discussions ahead of the publication of East Sussex’s BSIP. Please let us know how we can best collaborate with you to feed in our expertise and local experience to your plan.

To arrange a meeting please email info@cpresussex.org.uk


A couple of recommendations for this month

Lewes and Iford via Rise Farm
A short, tranquil and unknown walk through the Iford Brooks taking in Lewes, Rise Farm and Iford, with a curious history 5 Miles. Revised to take account of the new bridleway

The secluded Balsdean Valley
9.4miles 15.1km There can be few places where you can be so cut off so near to big towns and cities as Balsdean and Standean Bottoms and there can be few places where you can get such panoramic views in all directions, sea, downs and towns.

From Lewes to Spain
A grand excursion from the ancient town of Lewes all the way to a microcosm of Spain by the costa, by way of lowland villages and spacious downland vistas. 7. 5 miles, 12.5 km

Mr Van Hoogstaten’s Walk, Uckfield
A 7 mile ramble through the undulating low Weald Countryside from Uckfield, featuring the footpath which was the cause of the famous battle between the Ramblers and Mr Van Hoogstraaten. Various shorter alternatives.  You need not worry. There has been no history of any problem with the famous path for many years.  Revised to avoid new housing developments.


Under the Downs, Newhaven-Lewes-Portsmouth

This is a 100 mile, 160km route under the Downs from Newhaven ferry terminal and Lewes town to Portsmouth centre and Portsmouth ferry terminal.  It is designed to be ridden over 3 to 7 days and is suitable for any bike except narrow tyred racing bikes.