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(Fine old Tower Mill)

Name Derivation

General Details

Polegate lies on the Roman road which ran from Pevensey Castle (Anderida) to Lewes.

To the north of the village lay Otham Priory which was built in 1175, and was closed in the 1200's when the monks moved to settle Bayham Abbey between Lamberhurst and Bells Yew Green. The remains of the abbey can be seen from the Cuckoo Trail. Otham was founded by Ralph de Dene (from West Dean near Seaford ), of the Premonstratensian Order who was a sub tenant of Pevensey Castle . The monks moved to Bayham Abbey because 'Otham was impossibly damp and inhospitable', as it lay in the Pevensey Marshes.

In 1817 the Polegate Windmill was built, replacing an old post mill on the South Downs. The mill is a tower type, which is now open to the public in the summer thanks to volunteers. The windmill can now be found in the middle of a housing estate, which has built up in the 20th century.

The Cuckoo Line (Steam Railway) track was started in 1849 with the single track link from Polegate to Hailsham . In September 1880 a further length of single track line from Eridge to Hailsham was opened, providing a service from Charing Cross to Eastbourne via Tunbridge Wells . Polegate became one of the main centres of rail travel, with its sidings for the Cuckoo Line , and its station on the main Hastings Eastbourne Lewes line.

The village is now a starting point for the Cuckoo Trail , a walk owned by the County Council, which meanders through the East Sussex countryside to Heathfield.

Polegate village is a fairly modern settlement built around the railway lines, the town of Eastbourne has grown significantly since the 1850's and now has absorbed Polegate a suburb .


Polegate has many local services, the main shopping centres are in Hailsham to the north about 4 miles, or Eastbourne to the south, about the same distance.

The main line service from Hastings to Lewes runs through the village, and stops at the station.


Polegate has the starting point for the picturesque walk of the Cuckoo Trail which can be cycled or walked to Heathfield , via Hailsham , Hellingly and Horam .

To the south are the magnificent vistas of the South Downs.

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