The essentials Distance/time: Five miles/two and a half hours.

Public transport: Buses (51) from Eastbourne and Heathfield, alight at Vines Cross Road, Horam. Hillside Drive is just up the main road, on the left, over the railway bridge. Timetable information from Traveline: 0871 200 2233; Car: Use Cuckoo Trail public car park (free) in Hillside Drive (off B2203 near the junction with A267), Horam. Underfoot: A combination of: level hard surfaces; field and woodland paths which may be muddy, if wet; and minor roads. Quite a lot of stiles, a few of which are difficult. Thirsty work: The Horam Inn (near start/finish); The Brewers Arms, Vines Cross (point 4). Maps: OS Explorer 123 or Landranger 199. A compass would be useful for general direction.

[1] From the Cuckoo Trail (CT) car park in Hillside Drive, cross the road at the lower end of the car park and follow the direction of the CT signs, bearing right between the houses, on the section towards Hailsham.

The Trail is a shared-use route for walkers, horse riders and cyclists along the trackbed of the old Cuckoo Line railway, this part of which closed in 1965; so-called because of the legend that the first cuckoo of spring is released at the annual Heffle (Heathfield) Cuckoo Fair in April.

Cross another estate road by a Down Line Close railway-type sign and continue direction. In a little over a quarter of a mile, go under the Horebeech Lane Bridge. There are wooden seats on this section of the CT, if a rest is desired, some with interesting and unusual carvings. Also, look out for old railway signs showing the miles and quarters (see inset) to or from the terminus.

Continue for nearly a mile beyond the bridge and, just before coming to overhead power lines, turn left by a fingerpost on a bridleway along the left-hand field edge. Cross a bridleway bridge and continue ahead uphill.

Go through a gap by a field gate, and then on through a similar gap. Continue on the track ahead to a minor road. Cross, then turn left and, within sight, turn right into Cowden Hall Lane.

[2] Follow the lane downhill and, just after crossing a river bridge, turn left by a fingerpost along the entrance to Riversdale. Notice the solitary red deer on the left, posing for photos. Just past the house, turn left over a stile in to a paddock.

Go diagonally right across and bear right by a waymark along the right-hand field edge. Veer left to go through a gap, to the left of a wood, into the next field.

Now continue to veer left across the field ahead alongside a stream to cross a footbridge, and then bear right across the next field to cross another footbridge. Continue ahead to cross yet another footbridge. Pass to the left of a pond and then along by a stream on the left. Go through a field gate, then ahead through another, and veer to the left of a fenced area to a stile.

Cross the track ahead, over a footbridge and through an unusual small gate. Go to the farther left-hand corner of the field and through a hidden hand gate to Laundry Lane. [3] Turn right, with care, along this narrow lane. Look across to the interesting wall decorations at the entrance of Lanesmead Farm, opposite. Continue uphill and turn left at the next junction into Vines Cross Road. The road sign indicates Horam 1 mile, but our route will be somewhat longer.

In about 130 yards at the top of the hill, turn right along a footpath. Notice the wooded sunken way on the right which was probably the original line of the footpath. At a crossway of footpaths, go straight ahead along the right-hand field edge. Go through a gateway and, on coming to a track, turn right. [4] This is Vines Cross. At the road, turn left for the pub which is just up the road on the right. Return to the track and continue straight on for 500 yards downhill towards Hook Farm. Soon after starting to go uphill, approaching a house straight ahead, go through a field gate on the right by a fingerpost. Continue direction (north-west) along the left-hand field edge. Go through a gap into the next field and, just past a field gate on the left, go over a stile by a fingerpost on the left. Bear right across the field to cross another stile and continue direction to the top of the hill. Go straight ahead where another footpath crosses and downhill through two fields towards woodland.

Enter the wood by a broken stile on the right and, in a few paces, bear left downhill and over a small plank bridge. Go forward, over a footbridge with hand-rails, then uphill and through a hand gate.

Bear left and over a stile, then along the left-hand field edge, keeping in a straight line to the top left-hand corner of the field. Go through a hand gate or over the adjacent stile and turn left along the lane to a road.

[5] Cross the main road (B2203), with care, to go down the lane to the left of Maynards Green Primary School opposite. Do not be misled by a CT sign which may be pointing along the main road.

In about 100 yards, approaching a railway bridge, go up the slope on the left and turn left along the CT. Continue along the Trail once more for about three quarters of a mile. About half way along this section, notice that this former railway trackbed runs along a high embankment which affords good views to the right. This was some achievement in the days of using only hand tools! On approaching a road bridge, notice the Welcome to Horam sign. On the other side of the bridge there is a large sign board showing the history of the CT.

Continue ahead and turn right into Hillside Drive to return to the car park, and right again at the main road for the bus stops.