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NOVEMBER 2017 NEWSLETTER

 

TRAVELMAN SAYS “BURN BABY BURN”

 

BONFIRE

For years Southern were criticised for running extra trains for Lewes Bonfire on the grounds that we all wanted a local event. Now they seem to get criticism from some quarters for not running trains at all.  No trains will stop at Lewes from noon on the 4th until Sunday.

But the accompanying station closures look really odd.  You might expect Falmer, Cooksbridge and Glynde to be closed at the same time, and so they are, but London Road (about 8 miles away) and Moulscoombe are also closed.

Southease, however, is not closed and trains will run from Brighton at 10 minutes past the hour running fast to Southease, throughout the evening.  So a determined visitor could walk the 4 miles up the riverbank.  Coming back, however, will be a different matter, since the last train back from Southease is at 20.39.

BUSES

Brighton buses, owned by the same company as Southern Rail, are taking a different view.  They are putting on extra buses, but from 16.30 they will run non-stop between Kingston Ridge and Malling Hill (The Spinneys) running via the bypass and the tunnel.  The last bus out of Lewes is scheduled to leave about 23.45.  No doubt the buses will be packed and it may not be possible to get on them.  They are, however, a good bet if you want to avoid bonfire and get out of town for the night, returning when things calm down.

Compass Travel will be wrapping up their bus services by 16.00 at the latest.  Full details here

MEGABUS

Travelman’s obsessive search for the best fares to Hull has now led him back to Stagecoach owned bus company Megabus.

Coach travel these days is for those with little money and lots of time, since the services often stop at lots of places on the way.  There are two main companies, Megabus and National Express.  National Express serves more places but Megabus is usually always cheaper (although they add a 50p booking fee to their quoted fares).

One advantage of coach travel is that services depart from Victoria Coach station, a couple of minutes from the arrival platforms from Lewes at Victoria railway station (take the first exit on the left about 30 metres from the barrier, turn left at the end and walk about 100 metres to find the coach station on your right).  This can cut down your time considerably. For example, the best fare you will get from London Paddington to Bristol on the train is about £12 and you will have to allow 40 minutes or so to cross from Victoria to Paddington. The train then takes about 90 minutes.  Coaches from Victoria take about 2 and a half hours and start at £4. So you could save money and arrive at roughly the same time.

Tickets must be bought in advance for the best prices.

One problem with returning on this service is that coaches can be held up by traffic, particularly in London.  If you are travelling on this sort of budget you will want an advance ticket from Victoria to Lewes.  You will have to leave a big gap to be sure not to miss your connection.

But what about Hull?

Stagecoach own East Midlands trains, which run to Leicester, Derby and Sheffield.  The Megabus site offers cheap tickets on up to 5 trains a day- usually the least popular ones, via the Megabus site only.  When I checked a rail ticket for dates in mid-November to Sheffield  started at £11 for a 2hours 15 minute journey, with no rail discounts.

They also offer hybrid services to various destinations in the north east, including Hull, which involve travelling to East Midlands Parkway from St Pancras by train and then getting on a coach to your destination.  When I looked for mid-November a ticket cost from £5 for a four hour 20 minute journey to Hull.

LETS BREAK OUR JOURNEY

You are on the train from Lewes to London and suddenly the thought of coffee your favourite coffee shop in East Croydon appeals.  Can you get off of the train, leave the station and then resume your journey, caffeinated up?

This sort of thing is called breaking your journey.

You cannot do it on any kind of advance ticket.  You cannot do it on a super off-peak single  but you can do it on other Southern tickets, including super off peak returns, off peak returns and ordinary tickets.

Just occasionally you can use this facility to get a cheaper ticket from Brighton if travelling towards London if travelling north of Haywards Heath.  Type in your journey  (Lewes to…X…..) Then amend your choice to Brighton to X via Lewes. 

It may be cheaper.  If so you can “break your journey” at Lewes. To avoid arguments you should probably book on-line.  You can still set your ticket to be picked up at Lewes rather than Brighton.

These rules may be handy if you want to make two journeys in a day.  For example you might want to spend the day studying at Falmer and then visit a friend in London in the evening.

Note that these rules apply to Southern.  Other rail operators may have more rigid rules, especially on the outward portions of journeys.

TRAVELMAN LEADS A WALK FOR LEWES FOOTPATH GROUP

Our local walking club is the Lewes Footpath Group, who run regular walks in the area. On 28th November Travelman is leading a walk for them.  See details on their web site here.  The walk will be on the formerly secret footpath round Rise Farm. There will be visits to other “secret” Lewes paths too.   You are welcome to come on the club’s walks as a non-member to see if you like them, provided you join after coming on a couple. 

AUTUMN WALKS

With the leaves hanging late on the trees this year, it  is still a great time for autumn walks.  Here is a selection:

Inside the race course

Here is a walk of about 3 and a half miles on the downs with trees. Most of the paths were dedicated about in the 1990s by the owner of the  old racecourse, so some people still don’t know about them.  Starts from Lewes prison.

Chiddlingly, Picasso and Rum Doings in the Low Weald

Woodlands, fields, art and history and an introduction to the issues of keeping footpaths open. 7 miles, 10 km, gentle, slightly undulating countryside.

Marching to Battle

A lovely varied walk through Wealden woods and hills, using the London to Hastings Railway and ending at famous Battle.  It starts at Robertsbridge Station, which may seem a long way from Lewes, but if you consult Travel Line South East to get a good connection, you can be there in little more than an hour. 7.4 miles/12km.  Rolling hills and a couple of moderately steep climbs

. Secret Lanes of Lower Dicker.

5.5miles 8.9km Beautiful secret lanes, level walking, quiet fields, lovely undiscovered woodland and a link with the second world war Normandy landings. A secret waiting to be discovered. One part that may be a little overgrown, but there is an alternative.

RUM DO’S AT THE RACECOURSE

You may remember that the county council, which has responsibility for rights of way, has refused to allow the diversion of a bridleway at Lewes old racecourse.  However many people remain dismayed at the amount of fencing that has been erected in the area, most of which has no planning permission.  Normally fencing does not require planning permission, but such is the sensitive nature of the site that a special rule has been invoked which means that it is now required.

Travelman and others have been pressing Lewes District Council to require these fences to be removed.  Because we are in the national park the Legal planning authority is the South Downs National Park, but the park has a policy of delegating most decisions to Lewes District Council.

The most prominent fencing has been erected by Mr And Mrs Ffitch Heyes, who are land owners at the racecourse.  They have erected a lot of fencing and an accompanying road without permission.  I am now told that they have retrospectively applied for permission for this road.  The application will appear on the South Downs Park’s web site shortly.  I expect to issue a special edition of the newsletter when it does.

However there are a lot of other fencing issues in the area which have not been dealt with. These include:

1)    The erection of horse fencing to the NE of the racecourse complex by a landowner, which has obstructed the route used by walkers and other for many years.

2)    The demolition of shrubs and trees on the same site.

3)    The erection of a fence across the legal line of the bridleway by Mr and Mrs Ffitch-Heyes’ house. 

4)    The erection of a fence partially across the bridleway at the southern end of the proposed  former diversion.

Lewes District Council shows no signs of dealing with any of this.  Travelman would like you to contact your district council member to ask them to get action taken.  Alternatively you can ask the council officers directly

RUN DOWN IN COCKSHUT ROAD

Cockshut Road runs from Southover High Street to the Southdown Club and beyond. Part of it goes through a  narrow tunnel under the railway.  Travelman and many others have had near accident experiences involving cars when walking through the tunnel, which is very dangerous for pedestrians.

There does not seem to be any legal right for cars to use this bit of the road, but on the other hand there does not seem to be anyone who has the right to stop them.

A possible alternative exists.  If you are coming from Southover High Street, if you turn left just before the tunnel, by some garages, you can walk down a lane owned by the railway.  You can then go down some steps and through a foot tunnel.  Just beyond the foot tunnel is a gate into the Priory Grounds, owned by the Town Council.

But the gate is locked.  Please contact the Town Council to ask them to open it if you would like to see it opened.

You can see some pictures of the alternative route on the Travel Log facebook page.

CYCLE LEWES

Cycle Lewes is our town’s cycling campaign group. They contribute regularly to Travel Log.  Here is this month’s piece from them.

Lewes to Falmer Cycle path

Do you regularly travel between Lewes and Falmer/Brighton? If so, it is probable that you use the bus, the train, or, possibly your car. Did you know that there is a cycle path along this route? In fact, there are a few hardy folk who cycle along it regularly, travelling to work or, perhaps, to a place of study.

If you are one of these cyclists, you will know that it is not a pleasant journey. The surface of the path is, in many places, in a poor condition, with frequent ridges and ruts that shake your bones. It is also too narrow and there is an entrance and an exit to a busy fuel station to be negotiated Additionally, the path is, for the most part, very close to an extremely busy carriageway. Travelling west during darkness is perilous, with cars’ headlamps almost blinding the cyclist. In many respects this cycleway no longer meets current standards.

Cycle Lewes would like to see this cycle route receive a major overhaul. We believe that, wherever possible, it should be set behind the adjacent field boundaries (as is the Lewes to Ringmer cycle path), it should be directed behind the service station and it should meet current standards for width and quality of road surface.

Many people commute daily between Lewes and Falmer/ Brighton. Cycle Lewes believes that, if there was a good quality cycle path along this route, many more commuters or visitors between these destinations would develop the confidence to use their bikes for this journey. The route could be a significant cycling corridor. If more people made this journey by bike it would reduce the dependence on motorised transport and contribute to people’s general health and well-being.

As the path lies alongside a major A road, the responsibility for it lies with Highways England. If you would like to join Cycle Lewes in campaigning for a significant improvement to this route, please write to info@highwaysengland.co.uk

Cycle Lewes is the voice of cyclists in Lewes and the surrounding area. Join Cycle Lewes at www.cyclelewes.org.uk

EGRETS WAY

Travelman is in a grump with the Ouse Valley Cycle Network, who are the group behind the Ouse Valley Way.

The Egrets Way promotors have a difficult job because they need to get the agreement of various individual landowners.  There is no “right” to have a route down the Ouse Valley.

One problem is at Piddinghoe, where villagers say they do not want loads of cyclists storming through their village.  To attempt to deal with this the promotors have come up with a route which goes along the footpath along the Ouse past the village.  The problem with this is that parts of this footpath are very narrow.   Although the promotors say that cyclists will be told to walk in these sections and that some kinds of chicanes will be invented to make it difficult to cycle, we know from other such areas that this is difficult or impossible to enforce.

Such an arrangement would, of course, be impossible for equestrians as well as making life difficult for walkers.  The promotors have not consulted walking groups about their plans.

Travelman is concerned that the promotors appear to be only interested in facilities for cyclists and are not other users. The group has refused to engage with the problems of cyclists using the current footpath between Lewes and Rodmell, which is too narrow for shared use and which is not part of the Egrets Way.  At both ends the completed sections of the Egrets Way gives on to this footpath and it is so regularly used by cyclists that it becomes hazardous for pedestrians.  The group has ignored requests to erect signs asking people not to cycle on the route or to take some other form of action.

Just to remind readers:  The section of footpath south of the Lewes bypass towards Rodmell along the top of the flood bank is not a cycle route and bicycles should not be used on it.!  Please use the north west end of the Egrets Way and the C7 as far as Rodmell.

GOT SOMETHING THAT OTHER PEOPLE OUGHT TO KNOW ABOUT?

Send it to me at travelman@travelloglewes.co.uk  Deadline for each issue is the 25th of the month before.

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