South Downs Way gets smart new start at Eastbourne

Old sign being auctioned as part of campaign to fix broken sections of trail

A special way marker at the start/end of one of the most popular National Trails in the country, the South Downs Way, was revealed in Eastbourne on Monday 24 September during Eastbourne and Lewes Walk Fest 2018.

The old way marker, star of a thousand celebratory selfies, will be removed and will get a new life in retirement. It is being sold through crowdfunding to raise funds for the #MendourWay campaign to fix broken sections of the trail. Find out more at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mend-the-south-downs-way

Andy Gattiker, South Downs Way trail manager, said:
“One lucky person will have the chance to own their own little piece of walking history. Old South Downs Way trail markers are always popular but this one, carved from oak and topped by the acorn symbol, will be particularly meaningful for anyone who’s completed the trail.”

Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive for the South Downs National Park was joined by local South Downs National Park ranger Tim Squire; Gill Mattock, the Mayor of Eastbourne; and Lady Lucas, who sits on the steering group for the Walk Fest, to officially ‘welcome’ the new sign.

The new two metre high sign will greet walkers, cyclists and horse riders setting out or finishing the 160km (100 mile) route which stretches all the way from Eastbourne to Winchester. Across the top it shows in relief each of the major hills that must be tackled to complete the trail. It has been funded jointly by the South Downs National Park Trust, the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service and the South Downs National Park Authority.

The new sign includes an electronic donation point where people who love the South Downs Way can make direct donations towards the trails upkeep.

Speaking about the new sign Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive Officer for the South Downs National Park Authority, said:
“Whether they’re taking their first or final steps on the trail I’m sure that the 20,000 walkers, cyclists and horse riders who complete the trail each year will find this beautiful marker welcoming and inspiring. And if you’ve loved spending time on the trail please take a moment to give your ‘pound for the downs’.”

Gill Mattock, Mayor of Eastbourne, said:
“This part of the country is amazing for walkers. The Eastbourne & Lewes Walk Fest draws visitors and locals alike to our glorious rights of way network and the South Downs Way is the jewel in Eastbourne’s walking crown.”

Lady Lucas, member of the Walk Fest steering group added:
“Eastbourne’s  ‘Jewel in the Crown’ are her Downs.”