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South Downs Volunteers help quench thirst of 20,000 walkers, riders and cyclists



South Downs Volunteers help quench thirst of 20,000 walkers, riders and cyclists

 Dogs meeting at the FarmMore than 20,000 thirsty long distance walkers, parched cyclists and dehydrated riders a year – as well as their dogs and horses – will have reason to be grateful to the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service (VRS) for fitting new drinking water taps and troughs along the South Downs Way in Hampshire.

The project was started by the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service to install additional taps and troughs along the South Downs Way dedicated to the memory of Paul Millmore – National Park campaigner, author of the official South Downs Way guide and founder of the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service. The first two have been installed at Queen Elizabeth Country Park and Lomer Farm in Hampshire, and more taps and troughs are planned for other sites along the South Downs Way over the coming months.

Supported by a £2,000 grant from the Drinking Fountain Association these are the first such taps to be installed in Hampshire, where previously people have needed to rely on pubs and cafes to top up their water bottles.

Andy Gattiker, South Downs Way trail officer, said:

“Tens of thousands of people walk, ride and cycle the South Downs Way each year. It’s thirsty work, and they’re very grateful for the drinking water taps and troughs already installed along the way by the National Park and the South Downs Society. The two new taps will make a massive difference to visitors, reducing the maximum distance between taps on the route from 36 miles to only 13 miles.”

Nevill Brooke, Chair of the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service, said:

“Paul Millmore was a passionate campaigner for the South Downs National Park and loved the South Downs Way. Easy access to drinking water will make the trail far more enjoyable for the thousands of explorers who use it every year and these taps and troughs are a very fitting legacy to Paul.”

The South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service (VRS) is a voluntary organisation that works in partnership with the South Downs National Park Authority, looking after and helping to conserve the special qualities of the South Downs. Set up in 1981 to protect the Heritage Coast of East Sussex, the VRS membership has increased dramatically and works to the following two core principles:

  • To protect, conserve and enhance the unique natural beauty of the Downs.
  • To encourage people’s quiet enjoyment of the Downs.

For more information on becoming a South Downs Volunteer Ranger please email  VRS@southdowns.gov.uk