100 mile South Downs trek open for entries

In 1980 an extraordinary event took place in Sussex. It was so popular that, by public acclaim, it was repeated every summer for the next 41 years.

By Megan O’Neill
Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 1:34 pm

The South Downs Way Walk – a nine-day trek over 100 miles – gave people the opportunity to challenge themselves on this new national trail, while enjoying some of the most beautiful countryside in England.

In the 40-odd years since then, many things have changed and some, thankfully, have not.

As Keith McKenna, one of the current organisers, explained, the motivation for doing the walk is different.

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The annual South Downs Way Walk is open for registration SUS-220131-101642001

He said: “I think originally it was a physical challenge but in recent years more people have realised the mental benefits of country walking.

“This is particularly apparent this year where we are seeing lots of ‘first-timers’ signing up for June.

“Being able to walk freely over the hills, in the company of friends old and new, is surely the best possible antidote to the awful Covid restrictions of the last two years”

Keith’s wife, Sally, agreed and felt the camaraderie that builds up during the days of walking is equally important.

“We see lots of lasting new friendships being made” she said – and she should know.

“I met Keith on the walk ten years ago – and look what happened to me!”

While the couple acknowledged the social benefits, they also stressed that most of the things which attracted the ramblers all those years ago have not changed.

Keith said: “We are blessed in West Sussex with the South Downs and the spectacular scenery and views they afford and here is a chance to enjoy it all in the relaxed company of like-minded people”.

The event takes place from June 10-18 this year and bookings are open now at www.southdownsway.com

Alternatively, call Keith and Sally on 01903 813381 during daytime hours.