Communicating the South Downs


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Most people share the path in the South Downs National Park

The South Downs National Park contains more than a 1,000 kilometres of shared paths ranging from iconic routes such as the South Downs Way to smaller local bridleways. These paths are enjoyed every day by ramblers, hikers, dog walkers, cyclists, horse riders, land owners and farmers.

Share the Path has been devised to promote positive use of shared paths within the South Downs National Park. While research showed that incidents of conflict are rare, it did show that some users held a negative perception of the ‘behavioural norm’ that existed.

We decided against a code of practice as people tend to read it once and forget, and with so many different users it would be a long, off-putting list. Our aim is to use simple, succinct messages that do not single out any one group of users and create a positive call that brings users together as everyone is here for the same reason – to enjoy the glorious South Downs.

Our new film has a fun take on the unfailing courtesy enjoyed by people in the National Park everyday.

The British are renowned for their courtesy, no more so than here in the South Downs where you’ll almost always be greeted by a “hello” “thank you” “excuse me” or even a “much obliged” on the path. We’re encouraging everybody to get into the spirit and pass on a greeting as they meet others. So don’t be surprised if you get an even friendlier reception than usual this year in the South Downs National Park.
Andy Gattiker, South Downs Way National Trail Officer

Research shows that incidents of conflict or actual collisions between path users are very rare, and courteous and friendly interactions are the norm. We are committed to making sure everyone has a good time in the South Downs National Park.

Share the path - helloShare the path - cheers