More than 20,000 walkers, cyclists and riders who complete the South Downs Way every year are being asked to give something back under a new donation scheme.
Some people tackle the 160km scenic route for pleasure, others for the challenge and many to raise money for charity.
Andy Gattiker, South Downs Way manager, said, “We have around 15,000 pairs of boots, 10,000 tyres and 800 hooves travelling the length of the trail each year. That’s a lot of wear and tear.
“We’re so proud that it’s not just one of the best known trails in the country but that people use their experience of it to raise tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of pounds each year for causes ranging from reducing international poverty to beating heart disease or supporting their local hospice.
“We work hard to keep the South Downs Way in good condition and have lots of ideas for projects to improve it – for example, we’d love to install more location specific signposts, put in more drinking water taps and manage more path verges for wildflowers.
“If everyone who used the trail gave just £1 we could be even more ambitious.”
England and Wales have 15 National Trails – all free to use and managed to very high standards. Like many publicly funded initiatives resources are limited and trail managers in both countries are hoping that the new scheme will help them generate support to make the trails even better.
Donations of any size are welcome with 80 percent of money received being used to directly fund improvements to the trail. The remaining 20 per cent will be used to support the trail website, where around 140,000 people go every year to find free and independent information on how to access the trail, how to break it up into sections, where to stay and much more – this website isn’t publicly funded.
To make a donation towards the South Downs Way visit www.nationaltrail.co.uk/south-downs-way/donate
• What do you think? Should people make a donation for walking the South Downs Way?
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