The one hundred mile South Downs Trail celebrates its 50th anniversary

A 100-mile footpath through the South Downs celebrates its 50th anniversary with a series of plaques and a specially brewed beer.

Although the route has been walked by people for millennia, the South Downs Way became a National Trail on 15 July 1972, making it the fifth established and the first long distance footpath in Britain.

To mark the occasion, plaques will be made to commemorate the anniversary for the 66 parishes along the route, which stretches from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne.

The Argus: The South Downs Way at Seven Sisters and the Beachy Head Lighthouse: credit - Daniel GreenwoodThe South Downs Way at Seven Sisters and Beachy Head Lighthouse: Credit – Daniel Greenwood

Thanking the volunteers who help maintain the route, Andy Gattiker, National Trials and Rights of Ways Lead, said: “It’s amazing considering the trail opened half a century ago.

“The beauty of the trail is that it offers something for everyone, whether it’s an interesting day trip, a short vacation, or a week-long hike.

“We could not maintain the route without the help of dedicated volunteers who are involved in surveying, field work, helping with public events and administration, so a big thank you to them as we celebrate this anniversary.

“We thought it would be a nice touch for every community along the route to be given a beautiful signpost to attach to a signpost to celebrate this historic moment.”

Long Man Brewery, which takes its name from the Long Man of Wilmington who has delighted hikers for centuries, is also making a special beer to celebrate the anniversary, which will be unveiled in September.

Long Man Brewery’s Tom O’Neill said: “The South Downs Way is the lifeblood of so many businesses in the Cuckmere Valley and beyond, providing people with an opportunity to escape, explore and discover the nature around them.

“At Long Man we do everything we can to become one with the natural systems and landscapes around us, including using our own barley grown along the trail to make our own beer.

“We are delighted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the South Downs Way by brewing an exclusive beer with real South Downs Way origins.”

The recommended duration for the entire trek is eight days, averaging 20 kilometers per day.

The world record for completing the South Downs Way is held by Mark Perkins in 14 hours 3 minutes 54 seconds, set in 2014. The one hundred mile South Downs Trail celebrates its 50th anniversary

Fry Electronics Team

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