Welcome to the Mend Our Mountains South Downs appeal.
We're trying to raise £15,000 for 'Mend Our Way' - the appeal to stop increasing levels of damage to sensitive chalk grassland on the Downs. You can help us by pledging today - the £15,000 we want to raise will enable us to undertake urgent work to halt the erosion in this area.
From rolling hills to bustling market towns and the world-famous Seven Sisters white cliffs, the South Downs National Park’s landscapes cover 1,600km2 of beautiful and breath-taking views, rare and diverse habitats and quintessentially English scenery.
The South Downs Way is a stunning National Trail running entirely within the South Downs National Park. You can feel a million miles from the hustle and bustle of modern life, but be only a few minutes from civilization. Close to big population centres like Winchester, Portsmouth and Brighton, it is one of the UK's most-visited National Parks - and this has a big impact.
Whether you’re walking, on a mountain bike or on horseback, you’ll discover rich chalk grassland, crystal clear rivers, beautiful woodland and a wealth of cultural heritage.
The thin soils of the South Downs Way can be quickly eroded and the exposed soft chalk is then easily cut by fast flowing water coming off the hills. This means the route requires constant repair and now more than ever, as thousands of people seek the physical, mental and benefits of getting close to nature.
Three areas of the South Downs Way in particular need attention right now:
- Millpond Bottom (Pen Hill, West Sussex)
- Plumpton Plain (East Sussex)
- Old Winchester Hill (Hampshire)
These areas are spread out across a big area - and each will need a different approach, with changing techniques and levels of intervention.
The solution - and what your pledge will do
The sheer length of the South Downs Way makes caring for it a massive task. Volunteers work alongside professionals year round to try and make sure the surface of the trail is the best it can be, but there is only so much they can do.
While the South Downs National Park Authority receive some funding to carry out repairs to the trail, there are a number of significant repairs which cannot currently be delivered. The areas above are continuing to erode, meaning if they’re not resolved, the costs will only increase in years to come. Through this campaign we hope to restore the most critical areas, safeguarding the South Downs Way for the future.
To help us reach this total (and those in our other Mend Our Mountains projects) we're working with a huge number of partners, many of whom have made incredibly kind donations - you can see some of them below.
It means we can offer an amazing range of rewards - from t-shirts and mugs to unique experiences. You can see all of these, most of which are totally exclusive to the South Downs, on the right. We think there's something for everyone, on any kind of budget, and we've worked hard to make sure our partners are offering you something really great in return for your valuable pledge.
And it's not just about the South Downs. As you've probably guessed, Mend Our Mountains is a huge campaign, spanning the entire family of 15 UK National Parks. We've got 13 primary projects in 11 parks, and every park will benefit in some way. Crowdfunding is just part of what we're doing - we want to raise £1,000,000 in total, the most ambitious campaign of its type ever.
If you want to take a look at all the projects in the appeal, and see how close we're getting to our overall target, check out the Mend Our Mountains Crowdfunder Homepage.
Pledge today and protect the South Downs Way for the future.
Organic cotton Mend Our Mountain tees. Sizes shown: Men’s Medium, Women’s Small.
A selection of rewards from the South Downs Way. Clockwise from top left: the candle holder, the pin badge, the finger post and the poster.