50th anniversary of the South Downs Way.
For over 20 years Buriton was the western start and end point of this National Trail – with the extension to Winchester only being added more recently – and walkers from Buriton assembled in July to mark the occasion.
“We often walk parts of the South Downs Way,” said Rob Wood, Coordinator of Buriton’s Monday Walkers (the BMW group). “There are some stunning views and the walking is generally not too challenging.”
The route was officially opened by Lord Shawcross on 15th July 1972 having been one of six long-distance paths recommended in 1947 by a special Government Committee.
Initially the route was almost entirely in Sussex, stretching from Buriton to the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. With the subsequent extension to Winchester, it is now 100 miles long.
“It’s very fitting that the Buriton group are recognising this special milestone,” said Doug Jones, Chair of the Parish Council. “The community really values its association with the South Downs Way.”
“We understand that the National Park Authority will also be marking the occasion later in the year, by arranging a special event for local schoolchildren,” he added.
Buriton’s Monday walkers, part of the wider ‘Wellbeing Walks’ initiative, meet at the village pond car park every Monday morning (except Bank Holidays) at 10.30am.
“Our walks usually last about an hour and a half - around three miles,” explains Rob, “and once a month we have an away walk, always within 30 minutes’ drive of Buriton.”
“We usually have between 20 and 30 walkers each Monday and we are fortunate to be able to enjoy refreshments at the Five Bells, who open specially just for the group, after our walks.”
“As well as the South Downs Way, we are lucky to have the Hangers Way, the Shipwrights Way and numerous paths in the Queen Elizabeth Country Park on our doorstep. New walkers are always welcome.”
The group was started about 12 years ago by local resident Terry Owens and information is now available from EHDC as well as from Buriton organiser, Rob Wood (01730 266105).