Green fields and blue skies on the South Downs Way

Butterflies and quarterly reports

17th July 2015

I love this time of year along the South Downs Way. Everyone is happy and clouds of butterflies can be seen flying amongst the waving Scabious flowers. There seams to be a lot of Marbled White butterflies on the wing right now.

As well as admiring butterflies, I've had the quarterly meeting of the South Downs Way Trail Partnership this week. This is the group of representatives from all the Highway Authorities, National Park Authority and Natural England, that with in put from the Local Access Forum and user groups steer the management of the Trail. I was happy to report to the Partnership that the condition of the trail is getting better and in the last quarter we resolved 47 issues with signage or gates and were helped by 153 volunteer days over 29 separate work days! These super volunteers also helped with plumbing, litter picking and lots of cutting back nettles and brambles. So thank you volunteers.

I also get a lot of emails at this time of year from people planning a trip on the SDW, which is great. I also get asked a lot, "what is the best bit of trail?" or "Where should I walk?" These are the most difficult to answer. The best views and the best experiences are very subjective, it also depends on the day, the weather, the group etc. What is great is receiving comments from walkers or riders, telling us how much they enjoyed the trail and telling us about their favourite bit. Don't forget that you can add your own photos and favourite places to your interactive map. Just visit the "Add Information" tap on the left of the screen.

It has been rather showery this week, with one or two heavy showers between lovely sunny periods, so I thought this poem by our resident poet Lizzie Ballagher would be appropriate.

South Downs Rain


Rain! And a whiffle of wind.


Thin mist, spindrift: fronds & folds & coils of drizzle

Streak the valleys, soak all hanging leaves.

Then the gale’s fierce bellows stoke the storm,

Bend all grass-blades, drench the streaming eaves.


Rain! Rain! And a wash of wind.


Drops fall plashing & dripping, splashing,

The beeches seething, heaving, bending

With branches flying sideways in a blur

Of breaking water, clouds descending.


Rain! Rain! And a whirl of wind.


Air leans its dark pelt on us like a wild-eyed dog:

Panting, pushing. Now buffeting us, the wind pours out

Black rain—a deluge—bouncing, blasting.

All bottles burst; the genie roars right out.

Rain! Rain! And a wall of wind.

© Lizzie Ballagher

If you like Lizzie' poems you can follow her work on her blog at


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