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Latest stage of egrets way from Southease to Rodmell

Friday 20 June 2014

In spite of the heavy downpour just before the official opening, an enthusiastic crowd joined the celebration to mark the official opening of the Southease to Rodmell branch of The Egrets Way.  This is the second section of the planned network of multi-user routes that will eventually run from Lewes to Newhaven with connections to the villages in between.  Timing of the event was planned to coincide with the Southease Station timetable.

A last minute “adjustment” resulted in the official opening being extended to two linked ceremonies.  Young Toby from Rodmell School cut the ribbon at the first gate, followed by Gus Christie joining the children at the second gate for photographs.  A great crowd for each stage, with cheers – and a sea of umbrellas!  At the opening ceremony, in expressing special thanks to Gus Christie for his generosity, Neville Harrison, Chair of the Ouse Valley Cycle Network (OVCN), emphasized the key role played by both the two landowners in the creation of new paths.

The rain then virtually stopped and a “multi-user” party of enthusiasts followed the newly opened route from Southease Bridge to the garden at Monk’s House, Rodmell (by kind permission of the National Trust) for refreshments and stands of local interest.  Walkers, cyclists (many with bells on bikes), mobility wheelchairs and two horse-riders from the Mid-Sussex Bridleways group were present and all enjoyed the scenic route.  

Those attending were widely representative of our Ouse Valley, and Geoff Daw (Rector of Kingston Parish – which includes Cranedown on Kingston Road, Swanborough and Iford, Rodmell and Southease) together with Curate Marcus Brown, joined the gathering.  Neville Harrison from Southease and senior officers from both the South Downs National Park and Sustrans (who have worked on the Egrets Way Committee to create a new bridleway under the Paths for Communities project)  and many of the other people who had worked so hard (and long!) to achieve this facility were present.  Councillors from East Sussex County, Lewes District and Parish and Town Councils joined the group and John Parry of the Lewes Railway Land Wildlife Trust reminded us of the positive Lewes commitment.  As well as the horse-riders, two representatives from the British Horse Society also enjoyed the event.

Arriving at Monk’s House, Rodmell, we were soon refreshed by tea/soft fruit drinks and delicious small buns suitably iced to reflect the occasion and which were supplied by courtesy of the Abergavenny Arms.   

A really great achievement to complete the second phase successfully – and grateful thanks to all those who have contributed so generously and  been in any way  involved in the long and laborious task to provide this safe route – thanks to include both those attending the ceremony and those who were unable to do so.

There is even more hard work to be done to complete the whole route, and additional thanks to those who are already working on the next stage and those who will be involved.  Watch this space and visit Sustrans website:  www.sustrans.org.uk and Egrets Way website:  www.ovcn.org.uk  

Rosemarie Jeffery – a grateful user of the route.