Southdown Angling Association East Sussex Angling at its best
Southdown Angling Association East Sussex Angling at its best


The Cuckmere is a natural river with it’s headwaters starting as small, fairly fast streams flowing out of the Sussex Weald in the Heathfield area. The middle and lower reaches where the SAA control some of the fishing have been extensively modified, with several structures in place controlling the levels and flow. Water is extracted from the river at Arlington to fill the nearby reservoir.

Although fairly narrow, the river can be surprisingly deep, with plenty of lily pads, weed beds, reed lined banks, bushes and trees providing shelter to the fish, which can be surprisingly large for what appears to be a relatively small water.

The river holds Bream, Tench, Roach, Rudd, Perch, Eels, Pike, some Carp, Dace and Gudgeon and is subject to the statuary annual close season from 14th March to 15th June inclusive.

Although summer flow can be negligible, winter can be a different matter, with good flows, the river often being up and over the fields should there be an excess of rain.

The Shermans Bridge stretch, both upstream and downstream of the A27 is up to 15 metres or so wide in places with depths up to around 3 metres in places. Generally slow flowing except in the narrower stretches or below the gauging weir just upstream of the bridge, there are some superb fish present for those prepared to make the effort.

The Raylands Farm stretch above Sessingham footbridge is somewhat different, as the river is quite narrow and shallow for much of it, with a weir situated towards the top end and as a result, flow is generally higher, although the short length above the weir offers deeper slower water and has yielded many fine fish over the years.

To download a sketch or Google map of the Cuckmere waters, please click on the relevant tab on the left.


We are sorry to have to report some unexpected bad news:

River Cuckmere at Arlington, Raylands/Churchlands Farm (East Bank)

Unfortunately we have been unable to secure the fishing rights on this section of the Cuckmere that initially Hailsham AA and afterwards SAA have held for many, many years. We know that this venue is not fished that much, but is well loved by a few members, nevertheless this is very disappointing.

To be clear, this is the part of the Cuckmere on the east bank that we previously accessed down the lane past the Yew Tree Inn, adjacent to Arlington Church (see page 12 of your Year Book) comprising the first field, the next short field upstream and then the further two  fields upstream to Sessingham footbridge.

This has occurred because the original landowner sadly passed away and the new owner has exercised his wishes not to allow fishing anymore. Regrettably there was nothing we could do to persuade him otherwise and accordingly, all our signage has now been removed.

We now have no legal right to fish here, so members should desist from visiting this location.

We are currently trying to renegotiate the fishing rights for the west bank further upstream that includes Sessingham Weir. Further information on will be posted as soon things are finalised.

The Angling Trust | NEWS

The Angling Trust British Pike Championships was fished in some unseasonably warm conditions on Whittlesey AA's Glassmoor Bank and the main 20ft drain. A great turnout of over 170 anglers competed in this year’s final, which has hotly contested with several specimen pike being banked.
>> Read more

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