Green fields and blue skies on the South Downs Way

No time to catch my breath!

21st March 2016

The last few weeks have been so busy that as you can see I haven’t put up a blog for a while. The normal every day work is continuing such as responding to enquires from the public, liaising with landowners, carrying out maintenance works, but at the same time I been involved in a host of other projects and events all over the place.

So here is a flavour of some of the things I’ve been up to. Following the successful South Downs Event Organisers forum, I attended the Ridgeway National Trails first event organisers meeting to share the lessons learnt in the South Downs. Their issues are the same as ours and it was useful to meet some new event organisers that also plan to run events down here.

I popped up to London to see the development of new guidebooks for the National Trails and to meet authors and journalists involved in the outdoor industry. Good to see that new developments and technology I think will combine to create really good information for walkers, cyclists and horse riders in the coming years.

I also spent a day with some freelance journalists and film makers to show them how we are capturing the South Downs Way using the Google trekker equipment. This sort of work always take time. Several hours of filming for a couple of minutes end product. But the story was picked up by the Guardian, the Independent and the Mail and generated a lot of interest both here and abroad.

Peter Morris my North Downs counterpart and I meet with the British Pilgrims Trust to talk about their projects and the development of their new pilgrimage route between Winchester and Canterbury which will take in parts of both the North Downs and South Downs Way. I hope that there will be a number of areas of work where we can all work together.

Closer to home I’m working with colleagues at the South Downs National Park Authority on an Easter campaign to promote good manners on the Trail. This is all about ‘Sharing the Path’ and we’re encouraging all trail users to say “hello”, “Excuse me” and “Thank you” etc. A short comedic film is being shot for our You-Tube channel and work through our twitter and Facebook accounts will be ongoing over Easter.  

We’re also looking at sharing some of our circular walks using mobile digital mapping and I attended a training and workshop session on the use of ViewRanger. This was really interesting and has a number of useful applications for planning work as well as promoting walks and rides. ViewRanger is a cross between mobile mapping, GPS and Twitter. Anyone can view or shared their walks or rides.

In between all this I’ve been trying to tie up the last loose ends of this financial year’s maintenance work and planning next years with site visits to a number of potential projects with contractors.

I also found myself on the North Downs Way last week. I was pleased to join Pete at the official opening of the new end marker at Farnham. It was also the official launch of the whole of the North Downs Way ‘Street viewed’ on Google maps. So I went up to lend them the Google camera that I’m currently using on the SDW and to take a look at the new end marker, to see if I could steal some ideas!

Already looks like 2016 is going to be really busy!

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