Please donate to help mend the South Downs Way is the plea going out to everyone who loves and uses the 160km national trail which runs all the way from Winchester to Eastbourne. The 20,000 people who walk, cycle or ride its length each year, the millions more who explore sections of the trail and everyone who loves the trail are being asked to help raise £120,000 to mend broken sections of the trail.
“We know how much people love the South Downs Way,” says Andy Gattiker, South Downs Way trail officer. “They share glorious photos and stories with us every day – now we’re asking for their help to mend it. Fifteen thousand pairs of boots, 10,000 tyres and 800 hooves travelling the length of the trail each year cause a lot of wear and tear! Our existing funding allows us to make most repairs but there are a number of significant projects which, because they are on more remote sections of the path, are too expensive to tackle using existing funds. Each year, as the erosion and mud gets worse, they get more damaged and become harder to fix.”
The ‘Mend our Way’ campaign is being run by the South Downs National Park Trust, a new charity which works with partners to protect the National Park for future generations. Find out more and pledge your support at www.southdowns.gov.uk/mendourway
What needs to be done?
Old Winchester Hill is a scheduled ancient monument with an Iron Age Hill Fort, a Bronze Age cemetery and is also a National Nature Reserve. No wonder that it’s one of the most iconic hills in the National Park. But the route up to it becomes a slippery kilometre of boot-churned mud every winter. Being inaccessible to machinery and vehicles makes it a great place to be (when it’s dry) but almost impossible to fix. We need £50,000 to scrape away the mud and replace the surface with stones.
Remote location seeks sensitive scar repairs
For one of the most remote sites on the South Downs Way Millpond Bottom, between Beacon Hill and Penn Hill, has some impressive scaring. Successive feet, wheels and hooves have more than doubled the width of the chalk track – putting nearby sensitive Scheduled Ancient Monuments at risk. We need £15,000 to safely transport materials to the site, mend the trail and keep walkers on the straight and narrow.
Paying the price of popularity
More than 80,000 people walk the high Plumpton Plain track between Ditchling Beacon and the market town of Lewes every year and although it’s 200m above the sea, the path is flat so surface water is a big problem. At more than 1km long and at least 3m wide, we need £25,000 to repair, strengthen and add drainage so the path can continue to give joy to thousands of people.
Water water everywhere
Hyden Lane near Butser Hill sits on top of the chalk ridge but suffers from a lack of drainage. As large puddles get trapped on the busy track the surface breaks up and becomes muddy. It will take £35,000 to fix 1.6km of the track – replacing the existing surface with new layers and creating a camber to help it drain.
‘Mend our Way’ is part of the national ‘Make a Million’ initiative, run by the British Mountaineering Council, which seeks to raise £1,000,000 for some of the UK’s most treasured trails. Find out more at mendmountains.thebmc.co.uk