People are being invited to play their part in an exciting fundraising day to cross the entire 100-mile length of the South Downs Way in a single day.
“Way In A Day” takes place on June 21 and will be a team effort, led by South Downs National Park staff, to raise vital funds for the upkeep of the much-loved National Trail. The day is also an opportunity for people to learn more and be inspired by the South Downs Way.
The route, stretching from Winchester to Eastbourne, has been split into 16 legs for the purposes of the fundraising day. Designated teams of rangers and staff from the South Downs National Park will be focusing on 12 of the legs, whether that be walking, cycling or running the trail.
Members of the public are being invited to walk four of the sections to complete the 100 miles. The walks, each taking in stunning views of the National Park, will be:
o Queen Elizabeth Country Park Visitor Centre to Cocking Car Park – a 13-mile route.
o Littleton Farm, Upwaltham, to Cocking Hill – a five-mile route.
o The Downland Church of the Transfiguration, Pyecombe Village, to the A27 Crossing at Housedean Farm – a seven-mile route.
o Eastbourne (Dukes Drive) to Exceat (Seven Sisters Country Park) – a seven-and-a-half-mile route.
Participants are being encouraged to use public transport to travel to the starting points, as well as from the destination points, as parking is not guaranteed. All public transport links and further information on the above walks are available at the dedicated Way In A Day page at www.southdowns.gov.uk/care-for/way-day-2019/
A member of staff from the South Downs National Park will be at each starting point to greet walkers, collect a voluntary donation and give information on the journey ahead. Participants are being invited to share pictures from their walk on social media using the hashtags #WayInADay and #SouthDowns. The starting points of the walks will be manned from 9am to 2pm.
Every person who takes part is being asked to make a minimum donation of £2. All funds will go towards repairing sections of the trail for the enjoyment of visitors. The donation can be given to the member of staff manning the starting point of the walk, or alternatively in advance of the event online by visiting https://southdowns.charitycheckout.co.uk/sdw#!/
Participants from the South Downs National Park will also be picking up litter they find along the way.
Allison Thorpe, one of the organisers and Access and Recreation Officer for the South Downs National Park, said: “We’re really excited for Way In A Day and it promises to be a real team effort that everyone can get involved in.
“Getting outside and active in the countryside has proven benefits for both mental health and physical fitness. Way In A Day will be a great opportunity to not only boost the health of participants, but also contribute to the long-term health of the South Downs Way which requires significant investment to keep it in good condition.
“We have chosen these particular locations for the four public legs as these are the most accessible and have good public transport links.”
The fundraising day builds on the success of the Mend Our Way appeal, which saw the community rally round last year to raise £120,000 to fix sections of the trail that were in desperate need of refurbishment. Led by the South Downs National Park Trust, work is now under way to fix four specific sections, but the ongoing need to maintain the South Downs Way at other damaged points continues.
Allison added: “We are looking at possibly expanding the Way In A Day initiative next year to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the South Downs National Park and having more public legs. Watch this space!”
Participants are encouraged to make use of the Discovery Bus Ticket, which covers the majority of bus operators in the area. For this day only there will be a special discount, with adult tickets available for £7 and the family tickets available for just £10. For more details see www.southdowns.gov.uk/enjoy/plan-a-visit/getting-around/discovery-ticket/
The day-to-day work of the National Park will continue uninterrupted during the fundraising day.
The South Downs National Park Trust is the official charity of the South Downs National Park. To find out more about the South Downs National Park Trust and the work they do visit www.southdownstrust.org.uk