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. 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.


Whilst our stretches of the river Cuckmere are both beautiful and full of fish, some of which grow very large, everyone needs to take great care when settling down to enjoy a days sport, as although narrow in most places the river is deceptively very deep and can be up to 10ft at the waters edge.

Over the years quite a few anglers have unfortunately fallen in and have struggled to get out! In fact, already this season, a very experienced member suffered from an undercut bank which collapsed, resulting in him ending up in the water chest high and he's over six feet tall.

Please be very cautious and careful when deciding where to fish, if possible go with a fishing mate so at least there's someone on hand if an accident happens. Always have a really good prod and poke around with a bank stick to check the bank and find out where the waters edge actually is.

Most banks along the Cuckmere are now very overgrown. Years ago the banks were of mud and flat, but as the years have ticked by, the vegetation has grown, which actually now means we are sitting on banks where the middle of the river used to be, consequently that's why the water is very deep right at your feet.

Enjoy the river and all the surrounding countryside has to offer, but please tread cautiously and be very, very careful.


Please note that unfortunately the SAA no longer has fishing on the Cuckmere at Arlington, comprising Raylands/Churchlands Farm and Sessingham, both banks.

Sadly we have been unable to secure the fishing rights on this section of the river that initially Hailsham AA and afterwards SAA had held for many, many years.

We know that this venue was not fished that much, but was well loved by some members, nevertheless this is very disappointing.


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© Jonathan Cook