Print this page

Lewes and the Right to Roam

20/7/09

For nearly 60 years the Ramblers Association campaigned for the right to roam freely on open undeveloped countryside- a right that was won a few years ago.  Many people do not realise that it is now possible to walk freely on land in this area.  The problem is that the right is limited to unimproved downland of high quality.  Round here some fairly arbitrary decisions were taken about what land qualifies, leading to only odd patches being opened up.

But there is still a lot to see.  Get hold of an up to date edition of Ordnance survey map 122- Brighton and Hove (with a yellow cover).  The right to roam areas are shown in yellow, edged with brown. You will see that there is newly opened land on Offham Hill, on the northern downland slopes between Mount Harry and Keymer, on the downs above Kingston and all around Mount Caburn, as well as many other areas. Many of these areas offer great views, peace and quiet and exciting plants and animals.  You can walk anywhere in these areas.  In many places new stiles have not been put in yet, so you need an old towel or similar to put over any barbed wire.  Local activist Dave Bangs has written a smashing comprehensive guide to the downs between Steyning and Lewes, highlighting access land, and Travelman strongly recommends his book. Details at http://www.brightondowns.co.uk/ A group of people is organising walks on access land on the downs.  To get on their mailing list email action4access@googlemail.com