Green fields and blue skies on the South Downs Way

Links, plaques and projects

29th October 2015

This week has seen me progressing lots of separate projects but not quite completing any. But that’s the way it goes. Many projects take weeks or months of developing and nurturing and negotiating before reaching the end goal.

Our work with West Sussex County Council on signing link routes to local towns and villages has progressed. I’ve visited each route and agreed with WSCC exactly where new highway signage is or in some cases is not needed. New oak finger posts have been ordered and new link route waymark discs have also been ordered. Web content is also being developed, so the finishing line is in sight.

I’ve also been developing ideas and gathering costs for new end markers for both Winchester and Eastbourne. These may well be special cast bronze plaques set into the ground. This is still subject to agreement and conservation area consent, but getting designs made up is a big step forward.

I’ve also been working this week with the National Park and its consultants to develop ideas around income generation for the future. We do need to generate income from a wide range of sources to continue to deliver our work. So don’t forget you can donate to help improve the SDW via the “Donate” tap on the right of the screen or you can get your retailers to donate for you when you do your Christmas shopping. Did you know that whenever you buy anything online - from your weekly shop to your annual holiday - you could be raising a free donation for South Downs Way National Trail? There are nearly 3,000 retailers including Amazon, John Lewis, Aviva, thetrainline and Sainsbury's, who will donate a percentage of the amount you spend to South Downs Way National Trail to say thank you for shopping with them.

It's really simple, and doesn't cost you anything.

All you have to do is:

1. Go to

2. Sign up for free 

3. Get shopping - your donations will be collected by easyfundraising and automatically sent to South Downs Way National Trail. It couldn't be easier!

There are no catches or hidden charges and South Downs Way National Trail will be really grateful for your donations.

Our resident poet Lizzie Ballagher has now completed her walk along the SDW. Here is the first of her final trilogy of poems for you to enjoy.



I           The City Mill

Upstream the water unreels diamond clear from its cress-bed source

Over chalk-beds white as sifted flour:

Bird-dipped, sliding, slipping in silence

It glitters in its shallow course.


Upstream the water drifts in a dream,

Soundless, limpid below blue-green willows:

Swan-swum, trailing skeins of water weed,

Beaded with pennywort, with ferns fountaining,


But then—above the gabled red-brick mill—divides.


One side flows smooth, the other rough-grained like wood,

Braided suddenly in faster-flowing fibres;

In light-shot silver bands it runs

In a hissing murmur, strands twisting ever tighter,

Drawn inexorably through the deepening sluice.

Soon it rushes, slices over tiny stones,

Over long-lost Saxon buckles, Roman coins

And stream-washed rainbow trout bones

Drawn into the foaming white churn of the mill,

Roiling, boiling & the great black wheel

Turning, toiling, with the flap, the slap of blades

Clacking, iron cogs clicking

And the bright wet-shine of water on old oak,

And the rattle of pulley chains

As a cascade of wheat-grains

Descends to feed the yawning hopper.

Now Winchester’s city mill roars.

Old timber floors tremble

At the guttural growl, the groaning grind

Of mountainous grit-stones turning…


But then—below the thundering mill—

The sundered water joins its twin tides once again.


Downstream the river drifts in a dream,

Soundless, limpid below blue-green willows:

Swan-swum, trailing skeins of water weed,

Beaded with pennywort, with ferns fountaining.


© Lizzie Ballagher

If you liked Lizzie’ poem you can read more of her poetry on her own blog at


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