• Chris Butler

Sovereign Harbour Cycle Network Phase 2A

(Ringwood Road to Lottbridge Drove)

This archaeological evaluation excavation is being funded by East Sussex County Council to uncover and record evidence for the 19th and early 20th century railway that ran from Eastbourne station to The Crumbles alongside the Horsey Sewer, before it is removed to make way for the new Sovereign Harbour Cycleway.

The excavation is being carried out by Chris Butler Archaeological Services Ltd with volunteers from Eastbourne Museum and The Eastbourne Natural History and Archaeological Society.

The railway served the beach gravel extraction that was taking place on the Crumbles. In 1857-62 the London Brighton & South East Railway negotiated to purchase not less than 48,000 cubic yards of shingle from the Duke of Devonshire at 1 penny per cubic yard, to be extracted from the Crumbles. They constructed a railway from near Eastbourne railway station through open countryside, along the Horsey Sewer, then turning south to cross the turnpike road (Seaside) near its junction with Lottbridge Drove.

The railway was 7 yards wide and ran for 3½ miles, and was known as the Ballast Line or the Crumbles Railway. It also served the gasworks from 1870 onwards. By 1932 the railway was no longer used to transport shingle, but continued to serve the gasworks and other industrial sidings, taking thousands of tons of coal to the gasworks, until finally going out of use in the 1950’s.

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