29 January 2014

New downland cycleway opens

A new off-road cycle path and bridleway through the South Downs National Park around Brighton was officially opened today (January 29, 2014).by environment and science minister Lord De Mauley

The 2.5km route adjacent to the busy and fast Falmer Road provides a safe and easy off-road route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. It links Woodingdean in Brighton with the village of Falmer in East Sussex as well as linking with the Amex Community Stadium, two universities and Falmer railway station.

It also joins up with cycle routes along the A27 and Lewes Road and allows easy access to Stanmer Park - and from there into the wider Downs.

The path itself is entirely within the National Park with the southern end being in Brighton & Hove and the northern end in East Sussex County Council’s area.

The project has been led by Brighton & Hove City Council in close partnership with the National Park Authority and East Sussex County Council.

The total cost of the scheme has been around £190,000, funded as follows:

Department for Transport -  £75k from a joint bid submitted by all three parties to DfT as part of the Two National Parks Local Sustainable Transport Fund – set up to benefit the Downs and New Forest.

Brighton & Hove City Council - £75k, from developers’ contributions and transport budgets

East Sussex County Council - £30k

South Downs National Park Authority - £10k

The route is surfaced with pale crushed limestone, rather than tarmac, to blend better with the landscape.

Chair of Brighton & Hove’s environment committee and member of the National Park Authority Cllr Pete West said:  “It’s great to have this cycle link from the Woodingdean area to these key amenities and transport links around Falmer.

“Falmer Road has become a fast, busy and rather worrying place for cyclists to use, so a surfaced off-road path makes the route viable for them once again.

“Early indications are that numbers cycling and walking the route are already up, even in winter, which is really encouraging.”

ESCC plan to adopt and maintain the route, which will be formally designated as a bridleway.  Bridleways are also open to cycles unless other restrictions apply.