UK: End of an era for Cuckoo trail rationalizations of overly-chainsawed management

The district council said management of the woodland on the Cuckoo
Trail, which runs from Heathfield to Eastbourne Park, was essential to
preserve it. But residents, who said they were devastated, have
started a petition to get the work stopped. “It is far, far, too
drastic,” said spokesman Gary Paton. “People have no problem with
management, but what we are witnessing, particularly at the Heathfield
end, is actually destruction.”

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“The habitat is what the Cuckoo Trail is all about,” he said. “The
beautiful trees form the canopy of the trail. “Any wildlife that might
have been at the Heathfield end will have disappeared, probably for
many years, as a result of the sound of the chainsaws.”

The trail, which forms part of the national cycle network, follows the former
Cuckoo Line railway and passes through Horam, Hailsham and Polegate.
The railway was known as the Cuckoo Line because traditionally, the
first cuckoo of spring was released from a cage at Heathfield Fair.

The line was axed under the Beeching cuts and closed in 1968. Wealden
District Council said it had been carrying out tree thinning and
coppicing for the past six years with its partner, East Sussex County
Council. “The trees now standing have grown up as self-seeded
specimens since the railway closed,” it said in a statement.

“Overhanging trees cause the trail to lie wet for long periods with
consequent problems with leaves and ice. “We also receive some
complaints from neighbouring landowners about the danger of falling
timber, interference with TV signals and the loss of daylight to their
property due to tree cover.

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