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.

BBC Consider Pedestrian and Cycling alternatives to “Car-Based Living” for New Developments.

BBC News are running an interesting story about “Young couples trapped in car dependency“. The news report highlights issues with recent relaxation of planing requirements intended to stimulate the creation of new housing developments. Some residents of these developments are hit by a double whammy of  having few community amenities while also suffering from limited local transport infrastructure based exclusively around reliance on motor vehicles.Housing without pedestrian or cycling transport infrastructureThe Friends of Centurion Way are convinced that providing new links onto our path (that are both pedestrian and cycling friendly) will avoid reproducing similar issues in Chichester. Maintaining the existing route of the path will also be critical to achieving vital local connectivity.

On a somewhat lighter note is a story from the BBC world service.

It reports how people in the Bologna region of northern Italy, can get vouchers for free food, wine and beer by walking and cycling! They have a public transport system that actually rewards citizens for taking sustainable modes of transport. Ping Jiang  (a Friend of Centurion Way) believes a similar system would be highly desirable in Chichester.  Imagine, you could walk or cycle from Chichester to West Dean and simultaneously earn enough point for free Coffee and Cake at the local shop/café there by the time you arrive!

Many thanks to Philip Maber for collating these interesting news reports.

Centurion Way is now planned to go all the way to Cocking!

South Downs National Park Centurion Way Plan Invitation Header

Southdowns National Park have published an open invitation to come and view their Centurion Way Planning Drawings for the stretch from West Dean to the South Downs Way, Cocking.

24 October
3pm to 7pm
Cocking Village Hall, Bell Ln, Cocking, GU29 0HU

Read the full details of their invitation here
SDNPA Project Update Stakeholders Sept_2018

The Friends of Centurion Way are very supportive of these plans.
However we wish to remind people that it would be a great shame if the Southern end of the path was lost due to development threats while the Northern end is being extended.

We recommend anyone enthusiastic about Centurion Way visits this plans viewing event and if possible, discusses their concerns about the development threats that over shadow the future of our Chichester section of path.

Cracks and Bumps have been quickly repaired

Late  this summer Adam Bell reported issues with Centurion Way Path to our local authorities.

There was a long and reasonably wide crack along the centre of the path at it’s southern end. It was an especial nasty if cycling at night.

In virtually no time at all the local authorities repaired crack in the path and removed the bump from a large tree root as well.

Tree root bump close to railway footbridge has been removed
Tree root bump close to railway footbridge has been removed
Long crack in path filled with new tarmac strip
Long crack in path filled with new tarmac strip

The Friends of Centurion Way group are really impressed with how quickly these repairs were completed.

 

BBC Radio’s Clare Balding interviews Matt Masson on Centurion Way about his rehabilitation from injury

Clare Balding hears the uplifting story of how walking helped a young man recover from a brain injury. Click here for link to podcast.

Clare Balding interviews Matt Masson on Centurion Way
Clare Balding interviews Matt Masson on Centurion Way

At the age of 23, Matt Masson fell off a roof during a night out. He was in a coma for six weeks and, when he awoke, couldn’t walk, talk or sit-up. When his voice returned, so did a determination to return to his previously active life. Walking formed a central part of his rehab; his first goal was to walk just 300 metres but by 2014 Matt had walked the Amsterdam Marathon which took 9 hours and 37 minutes. In this edition of Ramblings, Matt and his mother, Anne, walk a stretch of the Centurion Way in Chichester and recall his many endeavours. The Centurion Way is a route between Chichester and West Dean which follows the line of part of the disused Chichester to Midhurst Railway. fell off a roof during a night out. He was in a coma for six weeks and, when he awoke, couldn’t walk, talk or sit-up. When his voice returned, so did a determination to return to his previously active life. Walking formed a central part of his rehab; his first goal was to walk just 300 metres but by 2014 Matt had walked the Amsterdam Marathon which took 9 hours and 37 minutes. In this edition of Ramblings, Matt and his mother, Anne, walk a stretch of the Centurion Way in Chichester and recall his many endeavours. The Centurion Way is a route between Chichester and West Dean which follows the line of part of the disused Chichester to Midhurst Railway.

Friends of Centurion Way meet Richard Vobes AKA The Bald Explorer

Richard’s podcast/interview about Centurion Way is now available by following this link!!!

Richard Vobes is a film maker and amateur historian. He frequently makes short films and audio recordings that explore Britain’s great heritage, traditions and legends. He has a website https://baldexplorer.com/ where his videos and podcasts can be easily accessed.

On the 20th September 2018, he visited Chichester and interviewed some of the Friends of Centurion Way. Unfortunately it was raining and therefore filming was not practical . However Richard was still able to use his sound recording equipment, so watch out for a potential podcast appearing soon on the Bald Explorer website.

Richard Vobes AKA The Bald Explorer visiting Centurion Way
Richard Vobes AKA The Bald Explorer visiting Centurion Way (photo by Philip Maber)

Vélo South on 23rd September

Vélo South promises to be a huge local event with apparently 15,000 cyclists taking part.

Centurion Way is a wonderful route you can follow up to Lavant if you wish to watch the event but need to avoid issues with the event road closures on the day!

Vélo South cycalists

More details of the event can be found by following this link to the official event website.

The event is not without some local controversy as there is now a legal challenge being made to the road closure plans.

Chichester Observer Legal Challenge to Velo South event.

Legal challenge launched and protests planned against Velo South

It is not clear how the event will proceed if motor vehicles are simultaneously allowed to use the roads with the cyclists during the event. However Friends of centurion way hope that  both Vélo south cyclists and the local residents enjoy this unusual event.

On behalf of the Friends of Centurion Way,

Mark Record

Nocturnal Activity on Centurion Way

Philip Maber caught this interesting image at night on the 18th August. It shows  interesting nocturnal activities of some of the Friends of Centurion Way participating in a walk to find bats.

Friends of Centurion Way participating in bat walk
Friends of Centurion Way participating in bat walk

A young bat enthusiast Francesca can be seen on the right of the image holding a bat detector and third from the right is Peter Etheridge who did a fantastic job leading the walk.

The walk started from Bishop Luffa Close at dusk. Immediately as we moved onto Centurion way Francesca detected bats with her detector. We all looked up and two bats could be clearly seen flying just above our heads in a figure of eight pattern!

Although it was difficult to see bats once night had fallen, the bat detectors told us the bats were still actively flying around. Peter told us most of the bats we detected were probably the Common Pipistrelle apart from one bat we detected with a distinctly different call. Peter thought that could be an example of Daubenton’s bat. A type of bat likes to hunt for small insects that gather over water so was probably commuting between hunting areas.

Many thanks to Peter Etheridge for a great evening on Centurion Way.

On behalf of the Friends of Centurion Way,

Mark Record

 

Bat Watch, Walk & Talk

Discover these fantastic flying mammals on Centurion Way

Flying Bat

Join us for a very special talk with Bat expert Peter Etheridge to find out about the bats that live and thrive on Centurion Way. To include a short walk at dusk for bat spotting. Places on the event are limited so please contact us at friends@centurionway.org.uk to make sure it is not fully booked.August 18, 2018 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm