On Saturday I cut my second Sussex ribbon this year. In May I relaunched the 35-year-old Vanguard Way near Ashdown Forest; this time I relaunched the Ramblers’ Sussex Border Path at Wivelsfield in East Sussex.
The 137-mile path embraces the two counties of East and West Sussex, starting at Thorney Island in the south, travelling north then east to end at Rye; it wanders briefly into the adjoining counties of Hampshire, Surrey and Kent. The Mid Sussex Link follows the boundary of East and West Sussex.
The route was invented in the late 1970s by pioneers Ben Perkins and Angus Mackintosh, and they produced a guidebook. In the first booklet they described parts of the route near Northiam and approaching the final section along the River Rother as ‘an obstacle course’, but things have improved since then.
Now the Ramblers care for the route and Sussex Area’s West Sussex Footpath Secretary, the energetic Graham Elvey, has got the route up to scratch for the relaunch and found 40 volunteers, some from adjoining counties, to keep an eye on short sections.
The route is waymarked, the old waymark having been replaced by more recent directional ones. The next phase of waymarks will have yellow surrounds so they show up better. The bird on the waymark is a martlet, West Sussex County Council’s symbol, a sort of house martin without feet.
On Saturday I cut the ribbon close to Wivelsfield before we set off on a four-mile walk, much of it in the rain, following the Sussex Border Path through West Wood. Back at the village hall we raised a glass to all the volunteers who have worked so hard to ensure this path continues to mark the boundary of these fine counties.