Green fields and blue skies on the South Downs Way

Strategies, planning and fundraising

15th October 2015

I feel that I’ve spent too much time sat at my desk this week or so, but I’ve got lots of little bits and pieces done, which is always satisfying.

So what’s been happening? Well lots of day to day behind the scene stuff that is hopefully furthest from the minds of walkers and riders when out on the trail.

My colleague Ben and I have been reviewing the events that took place on the SDW this season and planning our next event organiser’s workshop to be run in the New Year. So if you have run an event this year or are planning one for next year and you’re not already in communication with us, please do get in touch.

This week I’ve also been reviewing some quotes for track surface improvement works and therefore also having to juggle the remaining budget of the year and prioritising what to get done in the next few month and what will have to wait until next year. Talking of spending budget, I’ve also ordered more SDW waymark arrows, we don’t want to run out of these!

It’s also been a week of responding to requests for information about the use of the South Downs Way; How many people? Where do they go? How much do they spend? Etc. These are common questions that we get asked by planners and planning consultants in relation to potential developments near the trail. They’re not always easy to answer!

I’ve also been responding to Eastbourne Seafront Local Plan this week. It’s crucial to ensure that the South Downs Way is adequately represented in local plans and strategic documents. This way future changes and developments can deliver key benefits for the trail.

There is also exciting news this week from Walk Unlimited, our promotional partners delivering this website. National Trails are now a ‘Good Cause’ on the website. This site allows anyone to support good causes just by doing their on-line shopping via their website. Thousands of retailers have signed up and the best part is that it doesn’t cost you a penny! Find out more and sign up here to help support National Trails and this website.

On a lighter note Lizzie Ballagher our poet in residence has sent over the few poems from her journey along the SDW. Here is one about Hyden cross.

At Hyden Cross

Summer rides at full pelt & we step

Under the easy rush of hazy, heady southern air

Where hills are near invisible & we are almost lost

Among the criss-crossed lanes, the drizzle

Of drifting clouds descending, dripping,

Dimming those warm, ripe distances.


Our downland world is furred & blurred,

All mosses velvet, tufted, soft along the path,

And our feet soundless, weightless on the cushioned loam.

For us the sole realities are hazels trailing honeysuckle

With tendrils of perfume as curled & intertwined

As the vines themselves. And wild white garlic-stars

Among the smell of last year’s leaves on settled earth:

The rich fragrance of woods in summertime.


At Hyden Cross the path is flanked by beeches.

Rising into the morning fog, they arch around us,

Substantial in the mist’s shape-shifting shadows.

In this dreamscape only they are solid, tangible,

Though all their leaves lift & vanish into lacy light.

So, trembling, we go below them as on holy ground.

© Lizzie Ballagher

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

More blogs from this Trail »

More blogs from all trails »

Share this post: