Cuckoo Trail

The Cuckoo Trail is one of the most popular cycle routes in the South-East. With 14 miles (23 km) of surfaced path, this scenic cycle path set in the picturesque Sussex countryside is accessible for everyone of all ages and abilities.

The cycle trail follows the disused Cuckoo Line railway track from Eastbourne to Heathfield, passing through the villages of Horam, Hailsham and Polegate.

The Cuckoo Trail is named for an old Sussex tradition of releasing a cuckoo at the Heathfield Fair.


Sussex’s Cuckoo Trail is located in the south-east, near the popular holiday town of Eastbourne. The start of the trail is in Polegate, north of Eastbourne and continues north to Heathfield.

Let’s Pedal

The Cuckoo Way is a 14-mile (23 km) mostly off-road trail on a surfaced path.

Start in Polegate and follow the signs north to Heathfield.

Look out for the sculptures and artwork along the route as well as the wonderful examples of Victorian engineering such as the brick arch bridges as well as the impressive Heathfield Tunnel (open during the summer).

The Cuckoo Trail offers a charming view of the Sussex countryside with green verges, orchids and wild flowers, cuckoos, woodpeckers and bullfinches, weasels and orange-tip butterflies. Smell the wild garlic in the summer months.

The Cuckoo Trail is managed by Wealden District Council and East Sussex County Council.

Route Distance

FromToDistance (Miles)Distance (Km)


You will find a number of refreshment stops and public houses signposted along the route:

Heathfield, Horam, Hailsham and Polegate.


Toilets are located at:


Cycle Hire available at:


Tourist information available at:


How to get here

By Car

The Cuckoo Trail is accessible from School Lane, Polegate, BN26 6AT.

To reach Polegate, take the A2270 from Eastbourne or A22 from Maresfield.

Car Parking

Pay and Display parking available next to the trail at these locations:

Car ParkLocationPost CodePrice
Polegate StationPolegateBN26 6EH£5.75 Mon-Sat – All Day
£2.15 Sun – All Day
Cuckoo TrailHeathfieldTN21 8DAFree
Hillside DriveHoramTN21 0HLFree
Cuckoo TrailHailshamBN27 2AUFree

By Cycle

The Cuckoo Trail begins as National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 2 from Polegate and becomes NCN 21 in the direction of Heathfield and continues to Crawley.

By Train

Polegate and Heathfield.


  • Distance (miles): 14
  • Distance (km): 23
  • Start: Polegate
  • Finish: Heathfield
  • Type: Disused railway line
  • Surface: Tarmac, gravel
  • Sat Nav: BN26 6AT


  • Car Park
  • Cycle Hire
  • Free Entry
  • Picnic Site
  • Refreshments
  • Toilets
  • Tourist Information

Cycle Hire

Let’s Bike – Eastbourne

Lavender House
255 Southbourne Road
BN22 8RE

Phoenix Cycles

219 Seaside
BN22 7NR

Opening Times

Open all year round except for any temporary closures due to works.


Cyclist Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)
5 star100%
4 star0%
3 star0%
2 star0%
1 star0%

I love this route.

Rated 5 out of 5
27th May 2022

This really is a great ride for all ability levels but much more fun if you start at the Eastbourne end as that way you get mostly downhill on the way back :)
There are a couple of bits where the signposting is a little confusing, but it’s not difficult to get get back on track if you lose your way.
The waterfowl at the pond in Hailsham certainly enjoy oats and some will come right up and eat from your hand.


Write your review

Nearby Cycle Routes


The information provided on this page is believed to be correct and is given in good faith. Please be aware that it may have changed since our research. Use of the information on this page is at your risk, we cannot accept any liability for any problems or incidents arising. The maps are based on the postcodes of the centres. The postcode provided for Sat Nav is the nearest postcode to the start of the trail or car park and is therefore not 100% accurate to the entrance of the location. Postcodes are provided as a guide only. We recommend that you confirm the location and other details before travelling.

Cycling With The Kids is not responsible for the content of third party websites, and travel times, prices, routes and providers are correct at the time of writing, but may alter at short notice.

Spot something incorrect in the information provided? Let us know!