Can you provide Biodiversity Records so we can have Centurion Way Classified as a Wildlife Corridor?

Sarah Hughes is the Community Wildlife Officer for Chichester District Council. She has contacted Sarah Sharp (our Green City Councillor) to ask if she knows local people who can give information about types of animals that use ‘Wildlife Corridors’ in the Chichester area.
Sussex Fox Cubs
If path users can report what wildlife is seen on Centurion Way (or the land immediately surrounding it), then we may be able to have the path classified as a ‘Wildlife Corridor’. Obtaining this classification for the path will certainly help in our campaign to protect the path from development threats.

Sarah Hughes gave the following explanation:

Chichester District Council are consulting on the new and not-yet adopted ‘Wildlife Corridor’ policy and we would like to ask for your support with three requests:-

1) Can you help with providing biodiversity records that will help us further improve the evidence base for the wildlife corridors (even if you have recently submitted them to the SxBRC or other biological groups)?

2) Can you record further biodiversity on these vital wildlife corridors? We will need the data before summer 2019 in order for the evidence to be in time for the plan’s submission to the independent examiner.

3) Can you support our proposed wildlife corridor via the consultation portal.

The evidence paper for the Wildlife Corridor policy is at please read this first

The consultation portal is at you will need to register first in order to make a comment, then please see which is the link direct to the consultation page on Policy S30 (Strategic Wildlife corridors)

Beating the Bounds on New Years Day

We had an article reporting on our event printed in the Chichester Post on the 4th January

Annual beating of the bounds in city

Below is short photo diary of the FoCW Beating the bounds event on New Years Day 2019

Beating The Bounds on New Years Day
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 1

The cargo trike easily hauled  a stove and plenty of ingredients for hot drinks.

Beating The Bounds on New Years Day 3
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 2
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day 4
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 3
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day 5
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 4
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day 6
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 5
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day 6
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 5

So many people were out on the path it was difficult for the group to stand still on the path long enough to take their photos.

Weather Set Fine for Beating the Bounds Event

Hope every one has enjoyed a good Christmas.

The Met Office are predicting good (dry) weather for our Beating the Bounds event (far better than the weather for our Christmas Event on the 15th Dec).

There is a warning level 1 for UV exposure because there could be a tiny amount of sunshine between the cloud!!!

Forecast for 1st Jan 2019
Forecast for 1st Jan 2019

I recommend bringing warm gloves and a hat as the temp is only predicted to be between 6 and 9 °C

We are meeting up by the footbridge by Bishop Luffa school at 11 am on New Years Day.

Be sure to remember and remind ourselves, we must get a good group photo for a press release before we all set off.

We should have hot drinks available at the Amphitheater too (where the railwaymen sculptures are).

Looking forward to seeing you all on New Years Day,

(on behalf of the FoCW) Mark Record

A Winter Washout

The Friends of Centurion Way had planed to stage a fun Christmas event on the path on the 15th of Dec between 2pm & 4pm.

Originally, we intended to warm seasonal refreshments on a portable stove and to encourage local path users to decorate lanterns to hang on the trees which are under threat if the path is diverted by the developers of White House Farm project.

On the morning prior to the event, the weather was particularly uninviting. There was cold icy rain alternately followed by waves of windy driving rain. I emailed people who might be coming and explained the MET office radar image of approaching rain predicted even worse weather to arrive shortly to coincide with our the event.

A Very Wet Christmas Event

Despite effectively cancelling the event with the email about dire weather, I thought I should check supporters of FoCW were not getting cold and lonely at the end of the path. This is easy for me to do since I only live a few hundred meters from the end of the path. When I arrived Bill and Sarah Sharp were already there merrily setting up umbrellas stored in their cargo trike.

We spoke to a friendly photographer from the Chichester Post who arrived at first on the roadway inside Bishop Luffa school. For much of our conversation with him he remained inside his car, talking to us from the other side of the fence. He had already been out much of the day photographing other events and looked slightly concerned with the waterlogged state of his camera equipment.

He took some quick photographs to document the event and then immediately put his camera away in it’s water proof case. The Chichester post have published a story of the event that gives a supportive angle on our campaign.

I was surprised we even had a group of three FoCW supporters while the photographer was there. However, just after the Chichester Post journalist had left, Julia Smith arrived too, joining us with Nero (her dog). Together we handed out leaflets to people using the path, some of whom were not aware that it is under treat.

Lets hope we have dryer weather for our New Years day Beating the Bounds event on the 1st Jan 2019. We will be starting from the railway footbridge by Bishop Luffa school, we will meet at 11.00 am.

Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year (on behalf of all the Friends of Centurion Way).

Mark Record

New Years Beating the Bounds of Centurion Way Event

Hopefully, all FoCW supporters will enjoy indulging in delicious food and drink over this festive season but by the time New Year comes around most of us are desperate for some healthy fresh air and exercise.

The FoCW Beating the Bounds event is the perfect remedy to over-indulgence and inactivity over the Christmas break, so why not join us?

Starting from the railway footbridge by Bishop Luffa school, we will meet at 11.00 am on 1st January 2019. Bring a bicycle or just walk if you prefer. You can go as far as you like or merely take a short winter stroll.

Unfortunately, Sarah and Bill Sharp can’t join us this year but Sarah’s emblematic Big Green cargo trike should still be ferrying refreshment (hot drinks) up to the amphitheatre.

This is now an annual tradition for FoCW supporters.

FoCW Beating The Bounds Jan 2018

The photo above is from the Chichester Post report on last years FoCW Beating the bounds event and the original story is still available here.

You can from the picture that the air was very “fresh” last year with soft drizzly rain.

Hope to see you there this year and keep your figures crossed for dryer weather.

If people wish to advertise the event a poster is available here.

Seasons Greetings on behalf of the FoCW,

Mark Record

Plans are now published to take Centurion Way from West Dean to Cocking

Alister Linton-Crook who is the Cycling Project Officer for the South Downs National Park Authority, has informed us on behalf of National Park Authority that:

“We are pleased to announce the submission of the planning application for the next section of Centurion Way which is an important step towards the realisation of this much desired project.”

The application Ref: SDNP/18/05920/FUL can be viewed and comments submitted via the link below:

If you approve of the extension of Centurion Way from West Dean to Cocking, why not register your approval officially?

From the planing application details available on line you may click on the comments tab and then follow the “login to make a comment” link.

A quick reference copy of the plan overview is available for convenience here but it is best to refer the government source directly for any important communications.

On behalf of the FoCW,

Mark Record

Christmas on Centurion Way

Join the Friends of Centurion way on the 15th Dec to celebrate the Christmas season and help raise awareness to the threat to our pathway posed by development plans. The event will be held between 2 Pm & 4 Pm.

Christmas Poster kindly designed by Dominic Webster
Christmas Poster kindly designed by Dominic Webster

We aim to provide any one passing by with some mulled cranberry juice and various edible Christmas treats.

Bring your family to decorate a lantern that you may hang on the endangered trees.

Looking forwards to meeting path users who wish to preserve Centurion Way.

Mark Record (FoCW web Author on behalf of the Friends of Centurion Way)

Removing Barriers and some Amazing Map Technology

Philip Maber (an active member of the FoCW) has discovered from the Shoreham-by-cycle group that Sustrans have a new campaign to remove 16,000 barriers to cycling from the National Cycling Network. If we as a group can preserve the existing route of Centurion Way we will be very lucky. Our path already has extremely few barriers that present obstacles to it’s users. However some local connections onto our path could be better. It will be interesting to see if any improvements are targeted at our area of the National Cycling Network.

Paths for everyone is the Sustrans new report where they outline their objective to barriers that hinder any users of the National Cycling Network.

Steps in the way

We are Cycling UK have published a comprehensive story about how Sustrans plan to remove all  16,000 barriers.

Philip has also discovered (from a FaceBook comment)a convenient way to display historic maps. Particularly of the old Midhurst railway (who’s original route Centurion Way now follows ). Example screenshot shown below.

Philips Side by Side Display of Historic Local Maps
Screen Shot of Philips Side by Side Display of Historic Local Maps

The side by side georeferenced map system he has discovered allows the historic map to be shown alongside a modern aerial style view. This link shows the area around (the now disused) Cocking station where Centurion Way may soon be extended.


Why Do People Want to Preserve Centurion Way?

Website Revamp

Visitors to these pages may notice the FoCW webpages are being revamped. Believe it or not, the FoCW website has been on-line almost a full year. Members of FoCW know development plans are in the pipeline that threaten our path and we want to be sure even more people are ready to engage with consultation and activism to preserve Centurion Way when these plans are revealed.

Extending Local Engagement in our Campaign

The bright yellow banner heading this web-site is part of our drive to recruit support. In sales they say a good product sells itself!  Indeed, you have nothing to loose by registering your support for FoCW but you have everything to gain. We’ve now made it super easy to register support by clicking the blue text in the header saying “Sign-Up“!  There are already 588 registered supporters but we feel (to be taken seriously by local government) we should aim to double this number. Over 30 people have registered in the last three days alone so getting a thousand supporters looks a realistic target (with your help!). You may want to print our leaflets to circulate amongst friends, family and colleagues and to get more people on the bandwagon.  Our calendar contains events and meetings you are very welcome to join too.

Strength of Local Support Revealed

Our new “Sign-Up” form includes a text field where supporters can comment.

We asked “Tell us what you most value about Centurion Way and how you would like us to preserve and enhance your path”

These are some highlights of the answers we collected over only the last three days!!!

It is somewhere to go to relax yourself in the beautiful nature. Walking among woods is very beneficial for human bodies. It’s also a magical place for children.

Centurion Way is a brilliant route, enabling people to get from the South Coast into the rural hinterland of West Sussex. I was delighted to open it, as West Sussex Chairman of Highways, and would be devastated if it was lost.

It is the only decent off road cycle path in this area. It is also a haven for wild life which is under increasing threat. Many people value the peace and tranquility and the opportunity to access the countryside.”

I ride the path on my own and with my grandson. It’s makes a nice way to get to the lanes around the downs and is a safe ride for my grandson.

Just save the b?o?dy path we’ve lost the beautiful farm and surrounding countryside to progression haha not everyone drives aren’t we as a country supposed to be encouraging our nation to be healthy it’s a beautiful walk to Lavant need I say more

1. The heritage of the railway line.
2. To be able to cycle / run from Chi to Midhurst.

I want to continue to enjoy the path and the environment.

It has been, for many years a little bit of piece for so many folks. Although I do t live In Chichester any more, when I visit I have to go there My relatives , who live in the Chichester area have enjoyed the peace of the whole path. . It is also a wonderful facility for cyclists who n longer feel able to ride on the roads . We need to maintain. These green areas for the sake of residents mental health.

It’s a fantastic local amenity that should be preserved and enhanced for future generations to enjoy.

I have been a frequent user of CW since moving to Chichester in the late 90s. I use it as a traffic free cycling and running route to the north side of the city and up to the South Downs.
It would be great to extend the path further north, but it would also be fantastic to enable a safe extension into the city centre. I realise that’s a big logistical challenge, but I know there have been some detailed proposals and where there’s a will…

Historically, I have lived my life in Chichester. I am now living at the house I was born in, hence I have many fond childhood memories when Centurian Way was a railway line. From my bedroom I was able to see the Newlands Lane bridge, and would often hear the approaching trains and run up the stairs to catch a glimpse of the passing train. I have on occasions, walked Centurian Way, and remember the times as kids we would walk along the line, and on the approach of a train we would run up the banks and hide. It’s now a safe haven for walkers and their dogs, cyclists and I guess on the odd occasion children might play there. I think it is mostly taken for granted that these locations can and do look after themselves. However, the realisation kicks in that there are a group volunteers who actively go and keep Centurian Way clean and tidy. As a recent early retiree, it is likely I will have some spare time at various stages of the week, and as such could join the group and assist with the Centurian Way. I think it is vital to keep Centurian Way as long as we can, as I am sure for some of, or most users / potential users, the previous comments might apply. I’m pretty sure the wild life that live there would also agree. Apologies for the “War and Peace”.

Well used, safe and pleasant foot/cycle path for exercise or access to/from Chichester. A feature that significantly adds to the quality of life in the city. Must be kept in entirety … and ideally extended to Midhurst”

I think cycle paths are an important part of linking our communities, promoting more sustainable forms of transport, keeping people fit and healthy, providing recreation and a great tourism activity. Centurion Way and Salterns Way allow people to cycle the length of our district from Midhurst to the coast.

It’s the easiest & safest cycle route (for me) to stay fit on. Within minutes you’re in the South Downs. Centurion Way is perfect for dog walkers, nature lovers, birdwatchers & cyclists alike. Always gorgeous sights to see, from Brandy Hole Lane ferns & Oaks to sunsets over the rolling fields at the former gravel pits at Lavant. Centurion Way will, in the future, prove even more valuable. With growing development along side it, the safety of it’s path will be needed even more by fitness & nature lovers, school children & dog walkers. It is a vital route to Lavant & beyond into the Downs for so many. I’ve no idea how you can improve on nature tbh!!

It’s such a lovely quiet walk for people with pets lots of wildlife to see

In this crowded country surely it makes sense to retain and expand the amenity ordered by a simple path ?

Access from West Dean area into Chichester, but due to our location, we would love for the path to be extended up to Cocking to provide a cycle path down to the coast and up towards Petworth without the need to go on public highway, given that we have three young children

A safe place to walk my dog all the way to Lavant. This is used by so many people, young, old, mobility vehicles and cycles. It would be sad to loose the path.

Perfect for a safe walk or run, without having to worry about cars

A green pathway to the south of the city and to the Downs. Safe car- free route for children to get to Bishop Luffa. We need more safe cycle-paths not lose one!

The cycle path. Must be kept open and would be fantastice to carry it on up to the South Downs Way.

Living on a stretch of road with NO footpath means that the Centurion way would provide us with a safe route for walking and cycling from our house. With three young children, this safe route is of paramount importance to us.

Beautiful , car free route. Fabulous access to wildlife rich hedgerow and banks + brandyhole copse. Great roiute for runners and cyclists, my children love it. I use it to get fromChi too Lavant and sometimes from Chi to West Dean by bike.

Everything! It’s peace and quiet, it’s beautiful nature walks, its safety away from roads.


Fiends of Centurion Way Halloween Event

This spooky story is now also covered by the Chichester Post.

A ghoulish group The Fiends of Centurion Way gathered on Saturday 27th Oct for a Halloween event to raise awareness of threats to the path.

Don’t be too scared they’re only The Fiends of Centurion Way

Carley Sitwell created some fantastic cakes, apparently made entirely out of real spiders.

Made from real spiders!
Made from real spiders!

We had some terrifying leaflets to hand out and an activity sheet too, but many people just ran away screaming before they could take one.

Later in the night we encountered the Ghost of the Headless Centurion who conjured up ancient sounds of his own dismemberment.