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South Downs Way (National Trail Guides) Paperback – 25 May 2010
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|Paperback, 25 May 2010||
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About the Author
Paul Millmore now works as a freelance conservation consultant. For more than 30 years he has been involved with the conservation of the special landscape of the South Downs, and he has successfully campaigned, with many others, for the whole area to be made a National Park.
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Some people have complained that it does not include enough information about the various things to look at along the Way, or enough accommodation suggestions. This does not bother me, as I research the accommodation beforehand on the internet, and generally don't want to know the full history of everything I see around me. I rather keep the book thinner so that it still fits well in my trouser's map pocket!
It's got easy to follow and clear instructions. I walked from Eastbourne to Amberley, and found myself off the official track couple of times as I thought it was clear on the ground where to go. Once I realised I wasn't on the official track anymore, quick consultation with the book and I found my way back in no time! After making the same mistake twice, I learned to check the book first and after that had no problems whatsoever. Would definitely recommend to those, who want a reassurance with them to make sure they stay on the Way.
Some other books say that the SDW should be walked from West to East, as otherwise the views can be an anticlimax, and that way the wind is behind you. I found both these claims unfounded, I had no problems with the wind going from East to West, and the scenery is different further West, but in no means any less exciting. So walk which ever way you like!! There is no right or wrong here.
Deducted one star from full 5, as I did miss more information on distances. A distances table similar to that on National Trails website would be good. Also the OS extracts could have the accurate distance of the section of the path shown on them. This would make planning easier, as an estimation from a scaled map is still only an estimation.
As always these guides benefit from having the OS mapping as a base to follow.
Strangely, as this trail is routed from Eastbourne to Winchester (going West), you always end up turning the pages backwards to walk the other way ! Could do with being one of those guides where it can be read either way ?
Anyway, thanks for your help.
Regards, David Wimbush
The guide contains relatively little information about the sites you pass and sights you see on the way. Mentions of such things tend to be cursory ("from here you look down on the village of Little Wobbling") rather than informative (i.e. telling the reader what there is in Little Wobbling and why it might be interesting).
There /are/ sections on accommodation, facilities for horse riders, etc, but these are little more than brief lists tacked on at the end.
In summary the guide would be excellent if there were no signs on the ground, but in practice provides very little of use. In 4 days of hiking, I looked at the maps a few times to check how far we were from the next village/hill/whatever - but no more than that.
The summary introduction to the route and advice to users is well presented, and the whole route is shown on small scale maps.
The route details are superbly presented in 11 individual sections, each with large scale contoured Ordnance Survey type maps. Significant waypoints and features are clearly marked. A useful feature is that the maps are detailed over a wide enough area to allow deviations from and return to the route, as required. It would be really difficult to get lost using this book.
An essential book for anyone wanting to experience the South Downs Way.
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