Green fields and blue skies on the South Downs Way

Too much time in the office!

5th June 2015

This week has seen nice weather along the South Downs Way, but unfortunately I’ve spent too much time in the office! There’s always emails to respond to, works specification to write, budgets to monitor etc. It’s not all bad though, from my office window I saw a Peregrine taking a bath in our pond and squirrels and Jackdaw’s squabbling around the bird feeders.

Last weekend I was working on the National Parks stand at the Lewes Hike and Bike Festival’ opening event. It was a busy day talking to the public about the South Downs Way, the National Park and up and coming events. The festival is just over 3 weeks of walks, talks and bike rides all starting from Lewes and the surrounding district. A full program of events and many others using the South Downs Way can be found on the ‘Events’ page of this website. This weekend really marks the start of the busy events season.

One of the things I have been doing is looking at new ways of generating income to help manage the trail. More and more time is being spent by all trail managers trying to generate enough income to keep the trails in good condition. Government support is going to get tighter and costs are always going up. This week was “Volunteering week” and we rely heavily on volunteer help, but we still need to by materials and tools to enable them to get the jobs done! I’m looking into crowd funding as an option for specific improvement projects. This will be a first for the SDW.

The trail is largely dry now and it’s the time to get cracking with surfacing jobs, so this week I’ve also been putting together detailed specification to send out to contractors. It’s often not easy getting machinery and materials to sites remote from the road.

Our intrepid litter-pickers that set off last week are now over halfway along the SDW. 30 bags collected and counting!

Here is another poem from our resident poet Lizzie Ballagher. If you want to read more of Lizzie’ poetry you can visit her blog here at


On Annington Hill, a muddle:

Squeal, trot, curl, snore;

Snout, snort, twirl, snuffle.

Pink ears flap: happy little pigs in muddy straw

And frolicking clover.


All of Annington’s long, long ridge is their playground

While their sires sleep lazy in the sun,

Mud crusting backs, ears flicking flies—

Delicious oblivion with fantasies of flying;

Dreams of wings & swill-pails, milk & sows.


Corrugated cabins overarch the piggery

In mockery of the great bowed dome of sky;

At night the pigs come jostling in, bed down snug

Far out of sight of warning stars that loop

Their garlands & their galaxies across the silent southern downs.


But in the day the South Downs Way ambles past:

A sunny daydream for walkers by the pens of other day-dreamers.

Debatable who’s happiest here:

The nosy pigs? The curious walkers?

Well—all are ankle-deep in clover.


© Lizzie Ballagher

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