The two banks of the river are joined by Willey's Bridge (a footbridge), the Phoenix Causeway (a recent concrete road bridge, named after the old Phoenix Ironworks) and Cliffe Bridge (an eighteenth-century replacement of the mediaeval crossing, widened in the 1930s and now semi-pedestrianised).
The High Street runs from Eastgate to West-Out, forming the spine of the ancient town.
(Professor David Carpenter gave a lecture about the Battle of Lewes at Lewes Town Hall in the summer of 2010; it can be heard at the following website.
) At the time of the Marian Persecutions of 1555–1557, Lewes was the site of the execution of seventeen Protestant martyrs, who were burned at the stake in front of the Star Inn. A memorial to the martyrs was unveiled on Cliffe Hill in 1901.
On 31 March 2009 Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, announced his decision to confirm the designation of the South Downs National Park, which came into being exactly one year later and includes the town of Lewes within its boundaries.
in a gap in the South Downs, cut through by the River Ouse, and near its confluence with the Winterbourne Stream.
The High Street, and earliest settlement, occupies the west bank, climbing steeply up from the bridge taking its ancient route along the ridge; the summit on that side, 2.5 miles (4 km) distant is known as Mount Harry.
Other special features of the area include the Glyndebourne festival, the Lewes Bonfire and the Lewes Pound.He built Lewes Castle on the Saxon site; and he and his wife, Gundred also founded the Priory of St Pancras, a Cluniac monastic house, in about 1081.Lewes was the site of a mint during the Late Anglo-Saxon period and thereafter a mint during the early years after the Norman invasion.It is approximately seven miles north of Newhaven, and an equal distance north-east of Brighton.The South Downs rise above the river on both banks.