by Robert Veitch
After 165 editions of Sussex Living walks, we realised we had never set foot in Cuckfield. So, Robert Veitch and his nephews Jago and Joe, were dispatched to indulge their wanderlust with a lap of the village.
Conditions along the route of this walk vary from pavement to squelchy mud so wear stout suitable footwear.
From the car park, head east, along the pavement, towards Whiteman’s Green, passing the impressive row of trees along the way. Cross the road at the mini-roundabout and saunter along the footpath between parallel lines of panel fencing. The tarmac path passes through a pair of wooden gates and across the entrance of Buttinghill Drive, continuing to the junction with Ardingly Road.
Beyond the zebra crossing wander down the track that slips away from Longacre Crescent at a tangent. After 50m, bear right, through the kissing gate. There were ponies in the eld when we visited, but it was the mud that caught both lad’s attention, “I just love muddy fields, when I have my boots on,” said a beaming Jago. Walk diagonally across the field for almost 200m and a steel kissing gate will appear on the right.
Once through it and beyond a 10×4 concrete plinth, the path swings left, over the field, towards the distant barn. Across the field, steps lead down to the solitary stile on this walk. The path joins the track and hard standing emerges underfoot once again. The track leads downhill to a bridge crossing Scrase Stream, then uphill, emerging as Horsgate Lane when making the junction with Broad Street.
Turn left and follow the course of the old A272 to the roundabout where it becomes the current A272. Keep walking in the same general southeasterly direction for another 200m. Look across the road and beside a postbox is the entrance to Copyhold Lane. Cross the road safely and enter the environs of Copyhold Lane. “There are some very nice houses along here,” noted Joe. Over the next half a mile or so the residential evolves into the arboreal, the urban becomes the rural.
The general straightness of Copyhold Lane ends as it curves sharp left. The path heads straight on, into the trees, by a 3-way fingerpost, following the route of a bridleway. Between picturesque banks, the trees towered above us as our boots kicked up the leaf mould below. The path makes its way downhill, bordered by a post and rail fence on the right, to a bridge over a tributary of the River Adur.
Across the bridge, turn sharp right and follow the path across another, narrower bridge. The route edges up the slope to a field. It hugs the right hand field boundary all the way to a finger post in the distance.
Pass through the gap by the redundant stile and follow the track. It passes over a bridge constructed of railway sleepers, under a eucalyptus tree, beyond a solitary cottage, then downhill to the stream. There’s a safe, natural bounce in the timbers when crossing the bridge, both Joe and Jago commenting, “It’s wobbling.” Walk up the slope on the other side, then into the eld, and aim for the mobile phone mast that’s poorly disguised as a tall and skinny silver spruce. Through a solitary kissing gate, beyond the sewage works and a pair of kissing gates is the A272. Take care crossing this busy road, the traffic flashes by like qualifiers at the British Grand Prix.
Follow the track for one-third of a mile, as far as the T-junction. To the right is a kissing gate, the entrance to the graveyard of Holy Trinity Church. “There’s so many people in here,” observed Jago, “so many different styles of gravestones,” noticed Joe. Walk though the graveyard, passing to the left of the church. Then turn right and aim for the lychgate, leading to Church Street, and then Cuckfield High Street, flanked on either side by block paving.
If you think you’ve earned refreshments, you’ll find it here in this quaint, quintessentially English village. Refreshed or otherwise, wander uphill, past four mini-roundabouts, turning left at the fifth, ambling back to the car park.
“A good walk, a good way to spend a couple of hours, blowing away the cobwebs,” was Jago and Joe’s summing up. Let us know yours…
Distance: 5 miles
Walk Time: 2 hours
Map: OS Explorer OL34
Refreshments: Take your pick in Cuckfield
Parking: Free parking at Whitemans Green Recreation Ground
Robert has tested the route personally, making sure it is suitable for walking. However, even he cannot guarantee the effects of the weather, or roadworks, or any other factors outside of his control. If you would like to send your feedback about a local walk, please email email@example.com