Our national cycle paths

The Rye to Dumb Womans Lane Cycle Path at Cadborough Undercliff

With reference to the article in last week’s edition on footpaths and comments that followed, it would appear that, despite years of requesting East Sussex County Council to carry out much needed maintenance to the cycle paths around Rye, they remain untouched.

I started using the cycle path between Rye and Lydd to commute to work at Dungeness along the section from Rye to the border of Kent, and the path on the East Sussex side is a rough stony track unsuitable for road bikes, but on the Kent side it is built with proper groundwork and a tarmac surface.

Over the years the East Sussex section has deteriorated and narrowed down to a single track and in many places there are huge puddles near to the junction with the B2075 – not surprising really as there hasn’t been any maintenance carried out since it was built 20 years ago.

And on the other side of Rye the path to Dumb Womans Lane, the safe route to Winchelsea, is now almost impassable – a narrow, dangerous, single track quagmire. And it’s hard to believe this is a designated cycle path and part of the National Cycle Network.

Image Credits: Steve Blattman .


  1. Quite right, Steve. No doubt some people see these as peripheral issues, especially during a pandemic, but the opposite is true, in fact.

    The cost of maintaining cycle routes, route waymarking, styles, gates etc is peanuts in the scheme of things. Yet the benefits, helping us all exercise and enjoy the countryside easily, are significant. Our physical health improves. Our mental health and wellbeing improves. We feel happier and the burden on the NHS lessens. It saves money in the long run and that’s proven.

    When we are able to welcome visitors back, they will come expecting quality cycle routes and rights of way. When they come, the local economy benefits. When they find increasingly poor rural infrastructure and dont return, the economy will suffer.

    There isn’t really a debate to be had. We just need normal, run-of-the-mill, ordinary, expected maintenance to take place, please, East Sussex County Council.

  2. I walked the Rye to Dumb Woman’s Lane section today. Underneath the mud it does have a hard surface. It seems to me that the problem could be caused by run-off rather than it being an issue with the path itself. If so things might be improved by the construction of a drainage ditch on the north side of the path.

    Where run-off occurs it will be an issue irrespective of how good the surface might be.

    Having said this, there are a couple of short sections where the hard surface does seem to have disappeared.

  3. And yet, we kept re electing and electing people to the respective councils who do very little if anything to support walking and bike path development or maintenance. There are also several stiles in and around Rye that have been neglected or landowners have made more difficult to use and after repeated emails, nothing happens.

    • To be honest, I’d given up bringing up the subject of the cycling paths around Rye. I’ve written to our ESCC Councillor probably 20 times in the past 15 years about the state of them and nothing. Clearly Cllr. Glazier is not interested in what happens around Rye and sitting on as many committees across the county as possible is more of a priority.

  4. I agree with Steve about the degraded state of the cycle path from Rye to the Kent border. However, I must question the designation of the Cadborough Cliff route from Rye to Dumb Woman’s Lane. I believe this is no longer part of the National Cycle Network (Sustrans route), as a few years ago that was diverted from Rye down the Harbour Road and along the beach road at Rye Harbour to Winchelsea Beach, perhaps with the building of the cycle track alongside the Harbour Road. The Cadborough Cliff route remains a public footpath. Please check.

  5. This track is in a shocking condition as is the NCN2 from Rye to Camber. Under the Highways Act 1980 where a Highways Authority fails to maintain an ‘out of repair’ public maintainable highway (which this is), members of the public an serve them with a Section 56 notice which gives them 6 months to repair the problem. If this fails to happen, the complainant may apply to the magistrate’s court for an Order to compel them to do so (if the court agrees that the ROW is indeed out if repair).
    If anyone wants to join Rother Greenways in pushing for meaningful change, please email nick@nickhanna.co.uk


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