SUPPORTERS of the Friends of Centurion Way braved the rain on New Year’s Day to beat the bounds on the path which is under threat of being diverted due to the new development planned at White House Farm.
Beating the Bounds was traditionally an annual parish event, with clergy leading local parishioners walking along the parish boundaries that were usually bounded by rivers or streams, to re-affirm the parish’s area of influence.
Campaigner Sarah Sharp is one of those involved in organising the event.
She said: “We re-introduced this old tradition in Chichester with a group of over 30 people with children, dogs, umbrellas and the odd bike.
“All too often you take things for granted.
“For many people who drive to the path and park at the western end of Westgate, take their bikes or dogs out of the car, this diversion will really detract from their experience.
“The road will be less quiet – it will become the main access road for the WHF development. The absolutely lovely start to the path will be gone.
“The idea of beating the bounds seemed to link in nicely with an ancient tradition of re-visiting and learning about the borders of parishes, dating back to the times when maps were less available.
“The key thing about the event was that it gave us the chance to hand out fliers and speak to people about what the Friends of Centurion Way group is doing.
“The atmosphere was cheery despite the rain in a typically British way – we were all determined to go out and enjoy ourselves whatever the weather.
“I think it is a sign of how much people really value their path that they bothered to turn up and support our first event of the year.”
The Friends of Centurion Way group has submitted an application to nominate the path as a community asset.
There is now an eight-week waiting period where the landowners (Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council) are able to raise comments or objections to the nomination.
The group is organising an exhibition about the path when they will be publishing the dossier of information about it.
The exhibition will take place on Saturday, January 27, from 11am until 3pm, at the Scout Hut, Sherborne Road, Chichester.
The Friends of Centurion Way has organised events for the whole of 2018 to raise awareness of the path and the need to preserve and enhance it.
The group is still looking for supporters to join the campaign.
If you are interested, please send your contact details to Sarah Sharp by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or text or phone 07789 843556 if you would like to find out more.