South Downs Way An­nual Walk cel­e­brates 40th year

West Sussex Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

Foot­prints of Sus­sex is pre­par­ing for a sum­mer party to re­mem­ber, as the South Downs Way An­nual Walk cel­e­brates its 40th an­niver­sary.

Or­gan­is­ers Keith McKenna and Sally Dench have or­dered the bal­loons, cho­sen the cake and booked the hall, and more than 100 guests have al­ready said they are at­tend­ing.

They say the nine-day event in June is all set to be a spe­cial oc­ca­sion and they are well into the plan­ning, es­pe­cially for the end-of-walk party.

It is, by tra­di­tion, a sup­ported rather than a guided walk, with ev­ery­one free to walk at their own pace each day.

Sally said: “We are a team of ten who wear these bright red shirts and walk the trail along with ev­ery­one else.

“To us, each of the nine days is a party in it­self, we just love walk­ing the trail and meet­ing new peo­ple ev­ery year and, of course, this should be a very spe­cial one.”

The an­nual walk along the full 100-mile length of the South Downs Way was started in 1980 by West Sus­sex County Coun­cil as a one-off event to cel­e­brate an an­niver­sary of walk­ing char­ity The Ram­blers.

It was so pop­u­lar, it sim­ply kept go­ing and has taken place ev­ery year since, wel­com­ing hun­dreds of peo­ple from all over the world.

Keith ex­plained: “It’s the only na­tional trail in Bri­tain with an or­gan­ised an­nual walk and that’s only pos­si­ble be­cause of the lo­ca­tion of the South Downs.

“The whole trail is within the na­tional park and passes through some beau­ti­ful coun­try­side but, at the same time, is never far from an easy ac­cess point.”

The walk now has its own web­site, which ex­plains how it all works, in­clud­ing the lux­ury coaches pro­vided ev­ery day to get peo­ple to and from the trail.

This year’s walk will be from Fri­day, June 7, to Sat­ur­day, June 15, and there is a choice of four coaches passes, start­ing from Arun­del, Chich­ester, Shore­ham and Wor­thing on each of the nine days.

Keith said: “With lux­ury coach trans­port pro­vided to and from the South Downs Way each day, the an­nual sup­ported walk is by far the sim­plest way of com­plet­ing this in­spir­ing and beau­ti­ful trail.”

The di­rec­tion of the South Downs An­nual Walk changes each year and in 2019 the walk will be­gin in East­bourne and fin­ish in Winch­ester .

Visit the web­site www. south­down­ for full de­tails and to book.

Keith McKenna and Sally Dench cel­e­brat­ing the 40th walk

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