A series of guided walks and cycle rides have been arranged over the last 18 months, from railway stations in the South Downs National Park. The project was part of the SDNPA’s LSTF* work and included Community Rail along both the Arun Valley Line and the Seaford to Brighton line. These have been focused on getting people who wouldn’t normally walk or cycle for leisure in the Park to do so. There have been events just for young girls, a known under active demographic, families, those with an interest in local history and health walkers. Events have been timed where possible to link in with other local events to support these, giving the maximum impact for the project and other local community events.
One of the guided walks took place from Amberley station, and went into the Park, taking in the beautiful views and astounding wildlife in that area. This walk was 2 hours long and was aiming to encourage people who would not normally walk to explore the South Downs National Park. Also these walks are designed to encourage people to leave their cars behind and use public transport, hence they leave from railway stations. Another of the walks left from Pulborough station and also lasted about 2 hours. This had less hills but was equally as stunning as the Amberley walk, taking in the views, nature and very importantly the fresh air.
A guided cycle ride left from Chichester station and joined the Centurion Way, a lovely ride with no hills and ideal for families and people who do not cycle very often. Apart from a short journey to get to Centurion way, the ride is off road with fields on either side and therefore ideal for young children to take part in and we had several families attend. It was a wonderful leisurely but active way to spend a Sunday morning. The ride takes you to the start of the South Downs National Park and lasts for about 2 hours.
*LSTF Local Sustainable Transport Fund, DfT grant aided projects to encourage use of sustainable forms of travel