By Jon Gunson of TTL

As you may well know, a cycle path for the lower Ouse valley is currently under construction. When finished, the Egrets Way will link Lewes, Newhaven, Rodmell and Kingston – and, of course, it will cross the South Downs Way. By happy chance, a small but important section to the south of Lewes was completed before the lockdown started. This has provided many runners, walkers and cyclists with a convenient route for their daily exercise. I have been particularly impressed by the numbers of families cycling by in the spring sunshine. I confess I find it hard to believe that small children would be better off in a stuffy classroom, trying to get their heads round the intricacies of the fronted adverbial*, than meandering along a country lane with their parents, amidst the birdsong and wild flowers.

To a large extent the rural cycle paths overlie a network of traditional footpaths and bridleways. Many of these have been around for centuries, and one hopes that they will be around for centuries to come. However, this is not necessarily true. When the ‘right to roam’ legislation was introduced in 2000, it included a clause stating that pre-1949 rights of way would have to be registered by 2026, or would be extinguished. This may seem a comfortable margin of time; however, the process of registering a right of way is not particularly swift at the best of times, and as the deadline approaches, the system becomes more congested. There is a campaign afoot to extend the deadline; however, if there is a path in your part of the world that you feel might be at risk, it is worth checking now to see if it is safe. The best explanation of how to proceed is available at on the Ramblers website. Googling ‘Egrets Way’, will of course, bring up a map showing how that route is developing.

*No, I don’t know what it is, either.