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June 2017 newsletter

Travelman says “Don’t Forget to vote”



It will not have escaped your notice that there is a general election.  The parties contesting Lewes are Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour. The seat is marginal, with both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats having held it in the very recent past. The Labour party will not win and members are spending most of their time in Kemp Town supporting the Labour candidate, Lewes lad Lloyd Russell Moyle.  The Greens and Ukip are not standing in order to support the election of a candidate who most reflects their views.
This is what I have been able to find out about the parties’ policies on things that impact on Travellog issues
Everyone is a bit coy.  Conservative candidate Maria Caulfield has refused to express a view, despite my attempts to get her to do so.
Labour is in favour of airport expansion in general and many of their candidates in London want to see Gatwick expanded.
I have not discovered the Lib-Dem view.
Maria Caulfield supports turning this into a motorway style dual carriageway, like the A23 or the A27 as it runs from Patcham to Lewes.
The Lib Dems have always opposed this, preferring minor improvements to the existing road. We now know that Norman Baker, the former Lib Dem MP, opposed the building of the Bexhill Hastings link road while in government.
I do not know the Labour policy.
Although Mrs May likes to go walking in Switzerland, continued cuts to county council spending imposed by the government have put at risk the footpath and bridleway network in East Sussex.
The Labour Party is opposed to these cuts but has imposed them in places like Brighton, where it runs the administration.
The Lib Dems took part in enforcing these cuts when in coalition with the Conservatives.
See comments about walking.
All candidates condemn the way Govia and the Government have handled the current dispute.  But the conservative candidate has not explained why she thinks the government is wrong and how she has influenced her party’s policies in government.
Labour is in favour of re-nationalising the railways. The Conservatives want the current system to continue.
Lib Dem policy is that “That any widespread reorganisation of railway ownership and management structures would disrupt services over a long period of time and therefore the existing franchise system must be made to work better”
In rural areas the Conservatives are generally in favour of the existing system in rural areas.  Under this system private operators run the profitable routes and take the profits, leaving county councils to provide and subsidise the loss making services.  In urban areas with elected mayors, they allow Mayors to operate the London franchise system, whereby bus companies must bid to operate a package or routes at set fares, some loss making and some profitable. But public bodies are not allowed to bid (unless they are run by foreign governments)
The Lib Dems seem to support most of this, with the extension that they would devolve more funding of buses to local councils and would impose an obligation on councils to find transport solutions in rural areas. They do not say anything, so far as I can tell, about who should own bus companies
Labour would encourage all councils to operate the London franchise system and allow publically owned bodies to run bus services.


Cycle Lewes were delighted to get useful feedback on our article in Travelman's newsletter last month; chair Simon Giddey responds:

  • Ruth O’Keefe is correct to say that it is ESCC that is carrying out the proposed cycle signage in the town (not LDC)
  • Directing the route of the NCR 90 up Delaware Road is not the preferred option of Cycle Lewes. We would like to see a well set-out route beside the railway line from Hope in the Valley along to Winterbourne Lane. However, as a temporary measure – until ESCC are prepared to commit serious money to provide this route – it is marginally better than directing cyclists to mingle with the heavy traffic leading into town
  • We totally agree with Mike Boice regarding the Falmer to Lewes A27 cycle-path section which, apart from the recently resurfaced section by Housedean Farm, is of a very poor quality and is far too close to fast-moving traffic. As a significant commuter route this section should be properly upgraded as a matter of urgency. Our reference to the A27 cycle path in the last newsletter was a comment on the latest addition, east of Lewes, which is largely set behind hedging and is of a good surface quality.

 CYCLE LEWES NEWS: on SATURDAY 10th JUNE MORNING there will be an open meeting to share ideas on how to make Lewes a Safer Place for Walking and Cycling. Several of our local councillors will be there and this will be an opportunity to discuss how we can reduce congestion, improve air quality and help people to develop healthy lifestyles by making walking and cycling a realistic travel option within and around Lewes. The meeting will be held at the Nutty Wizard (at the junction of South Street and Cliffe High Street) from 10.30 to approximately 12.00 (refreshments available). All are welcome!
See you there - and join Cycle Lewes to support our work in campaigning for and encouraging better cycling facilities in Lewes and area;, annual membership £5, benefits such as a discount at Cycle Shack.


Around now you may be thinking about a car-free trip to mainland Europe (while we are still allowed in)  Eurostar still has some single fares for less than £30 but you will have to search hard to find them.
So you may be thinking about using a ferry. This may not be as easy as it sounds.  A number of ferries exclude foot passengers altogether. For example, P&O is the only ferry company which allows foot passengers between Dover and Calais.
Now there have been reports that cyclists and possibly walkers are being banned from ferries at peak times in summer (Fridays to Sundays).  Companies implicated include Brittany Ferries and DFDS (who run the Newhaven-Dieppe service). At other times the number of cycles may be limited even though there are car spaces available.  Do book your ferry crossing at an early stage in organising your holiday to avoid disappointment. If you are refused passage on the Dieppe ferry you may want to take this up with your new MP after the election.
Here are details of a ride from Lewes to London and Paris


It’s the only way to Ireland.  For £41 single you can go from Lewes to Dublin by train and ferry, with add on fares to other stations in Ireland.  Watch the scenery go by, including the lovely North Wales coast and then cruise across to Dublin.  You can buy your tickets on line or at Lewes station, and you can travel on any train, even early morning ones.  For suggested timings and more details see the Seat 61 web site.  This site can also tell you about train travel to any other country.


When your editor’s namesake and former MP Chris Smith got up to address the national conference of the Ramblers some years ago he suggested that walking was ecstacy.  Otherwise, he said, why do it? This raised some comment amongst the members.
In the olden days they were not so reticent.  Here is GHB Ward, founder of the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers and one of the key people involved in the founding of the Ramblers Association in the 1930s.
“Is the world getting hold of you? Is your life becoming a round of drudgery and a mere figure? Are you becoming a machine?- something with movement but without mind? Do troubles and sorrows and worries press on you unduly?  Then go and find these woods and vales and moors and get your Heart’s-ease there. This cankering world will never consume your soul if you can only find and realise what beauties there are to be seen , what new life-wine can be drunk, what unsullied happiness awaits you, outside this grimy city.”
The grimy city was Sheffield, but after cycling through the heavily polluted Steine in Brighton the day after and idyllic walk between Balcombe and Ardingly, his words seemed quite appropriate for today.
The words are taken from a new book “ Clarion Call, Sheffield’s Access Pioneers by Dave Sissons, Terry Howardd and Roly Smith. Price £7.99


It could be argued that placing car parks right in the middle of the downs is vandalism in itself, but a more conventional type of vandalism has been highlighted in the recent edition of “Walk”, the magazine of the national Ramblers Association.  There have been outbreaks of vandalism   in rural car parks at Cocking in West Sussex and in the Meon Valley.
It is worth saying that you run no such risk if you follow the walks on the sustainable web site “Travellog Lewes”, all of which are capable of being followed without a car, even, in most cases, on Sundays.


With long days and (for the moment) glorious weather, here is a chance to get out walking. Here are this months selected walks.
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
Rotherfield Ramble
An exploration of the delightful High Weald south of Tunbridge Wells  featuring woodland, streams and the hill village of Rotherfield, using the 29 bus from Lewes  7.5 miles
Wild Wealden Woodland Wander
 Once the High Weald was heavily wooded.  A lot of woodland still remains. This walk takes you through the woodland that you can see from the train between Balcombe and Three Bridges Stations. The woodlands have been described as areas of “intimacy, seclusion and tranquillity  8.5 miles stating and finishing at Three Bridges station.


Bill Ball comments “I notice that there has been a general fare increase on the Lewes Town service. Apparently Compass justify this by saying that it is needed to avoid a cut in services. Are they still getting the subsidy from Lewes Town Council?”
Caroline Kenward comments “Not sure if this is due to the new £1 coins, but no ticket machines were working at 9.45 yesterday morning.  Result, VERY long queue. There were two windows open to buy tickets; the member of staff I spoke to said it had been desperate all morning.  When I returned around midday, three windows open, but not many passengers.  So, allow lots of extra time!”
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