1 - From the Cuckoo Trail car park, cross South Road into Western Road, and pass the recreation ground (left) and library (right). Then veer slightly left on the continuation of Western Road for 450 yards.

Go to the end of the made-up road, immediately before two white pillars with animal heads sculpted in stone. Here, turn right and follow a footpath between board fences as it goes left, then right, between houses until coming to an estate road.

Turn left, and then left again along a twitten between house numbers 55 and 57. This twists and turns between the houses until coming to a road (Gleneagles Drive). Turn right and follow this road as it veers left for 200 yards, ignoring a footpath on the right, but turning right into Dunbar Drive.

At this point it seems there are more houses than on all but the latest maps. Immediately before the Children’s Centre turn left on a footpath to reach Gleneagles Drive again. Cross, turn right, then left between woodland (left) and houses on the right. Pass a pond (right) and continue on through woodland until coming to a road.

2 - Even the most up-to-date maps show a public footpath directly opposite. However, this has disappeared in a large expanse of new and partly-built houses. So, turn left, cross at the bollards and continue towards the dual-carriageway.

Before reaching the A22, turn right on a marked alternative path. (I am not sure if this will be permanent.) Follow this, with security fencing on the right and the main road on the other side of the hedge on the left.

On passing a stile on the left, this becomes the re-routed Wealdway (a regional route from the River Thames at Gravesend to the English Channel at Eastbourne, which has been covered before on my walks; look for the WW signs).

Continue to follow the security fencing, and where this ends, go forward, turning right to cross a temporary metal bridge over a wide drainage ditch. Continue walking north-east towards a pond on the right.

Immediately past the pond, turn right through a gap in the hedge and go straight across the field. (Security fencing can be seen through the hedge on the right.) Go through a gap into the next field and look for a post on the left, featuring an official white notice detailing the path diversion.

Turn left here, uphill on a clear path which is now the original Wealdway. Cross an estate road, where there is a Wealdway finger post, and carry on to cross another estate road with a similar sign. On reaching a third estate road turn left and at the end, go between wooden posts (with WW sign) and turn right downhill to the main road (A271).

3 - This is Upper Horsebridge and the original horse bridge over the Cuckmere River is about 150 yards to the left. However, turn right and cross the road to continue on the Wealdway, opposite the B2104 turning.

Heading north now, pass to the right of a derelict mill building and follow the field-edge path for nearly half-a-mile. Go through a kissing-gate and past a pond on the right, veering left towards Horselunges Manor. This is a Grade I-listed building surrounded by a moat on which a black swan may be seen.

Turn right in front of the main gates; go over a footbridge, through a kissing-gate, across a field and through another kissing-gate. Then turn left along the road for 150 yards towards Hellingly.

4 - Enter St Peter & St Paul’s churchyard through a gate on the right. Situated on a Saxon mound, the present building is mainly 14th century. It’s open during daylight hours, so take a look inside.

Exit the churchyard to the north-west and turn right along Church Lane for 700 yards. At a sharp left-hand bend, go straight ahead along a track at the end of which, cross a stile into a field. Go across to the farther left-hand corner, parallel to a road.

5 - On coming to a stile, do not go over, but turn right along the edge of the field. Go through a gate where another footpath crosses and continue to, and through, another gate on the left.

Do not go over the stile here, but follow the fence (right) on a marked permissive path leading down to the Cuckoo Trail; a picturesque surfaced path along the former Heathfield to Eastbourne railway track.

Turn right and look for the various delightful wood carvings and information boards along this route. Cross a minor road, and after passing the Cuckoo’s Rest on the right, go under Station Road Bridge.

6 - There is a car park to the right from where buggy users could do the section to Hailsham. Continue on the Trail, past the old Station building, until crossing the main road (A271) which is traffic-light controlled.

Continue on, and where the path divides, bear left to go under Hawks Road Bridge (note the wall decorations here). Cross an estate road, and through barriers near houses. At the next barriers turn left, and follow the path around to the right alongside a football field.

At a divide, bear right to go under London Road Bridge. At the next divide, bear right and continue back to the Cuckoo Trail car park.

  • Distance/ Time: Six and a half miles/ three hours
  • By Car: Use Cuckoo Trail public car park (free) at junction of South Road and Western Road (opposite Hailsham Free Church) or onstreet in Western Road (opposite Library)
  • By Public Transport: Buses: 98 from Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings pass through Hailsham (hourly). Timetable information from Traveline: 0871 200 2233; www.traveline.info
  • What’s underfoot: Easy walking, mainly on level hard surfaces, but can be muddy on cross-field and woodland paths. Suitable for mobility and baby buggies on Cuckoo Trail only (see note at point 6)
  • Thirsty Work: Choice of pubs and restaurants in Hailsham (at start/finish); Cuckoo’s Rest, Station Road, Hellingly (adjacent to Cuckoo Trail); or perhaps take a picnic
  • So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer 123 or Landranger 199. A compass would be useful for general direction

Click here for a full-sized map of the Hailsham circular