History Files


Modern Britain

Railway Walks: Polegate to Eridge

by Peter Kessler, 1 September 2012. Updated 27 June 2017

The 'Cuckoo Line', totalling 33 kilometres (20.5 miles) between Polegate and Eridge in East Sussex, was opened in two stages. The first part to Hailsham came into service on 14 May 1849, on the same day as a connection to Eastbourne. The London Brighton & South Coast Railway opened a single track section to Heathfield on 5 April 1880, and a further stretch to Eridge on 1 September 1880. The line gained its name amongst railway staff thanks to the tradition that the first cuckoo of spring was released from a cage at Heathfield Fair. The line fell victim to the Beeching cuts and was closed to passengers on 14 June 1965. The last goods service ran on 26 September 1968.

Additional information by Craig Smith.




Main Sources

Conolly, W Philip - British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas and Gazetteer, Fourth Edition, Ian Allen, London, 1965

Online Sources

New Popular Edition Maps

Disused Stations

Forgotten Relics

East Sussex Country Council: The Cuckoo Trail

National Library of Scotland: Geo-Referenced Maps

Subterranea Britannica: Argos Hill Tunnel



Images and text copyright © P L Kessler except where stated. An original feature for the History Files.