Eastbourne Open Downland

Start at The Kiosk, BN20 7XL
Date & Time: Saturday 28th September, 2 pm–5 pm

A rare opportunity to walk and talk with environmental experts Phil Belden and Derek Read. Together, they will tell the story of how the land from Beachy Head to Butts Brow was saved from development by the people of Eastbourne in 1929, requiring an Act of Parliament, a historic first, to do so. Everyone (well over a million people a year visit) knows Beachy Head, but what’s behind it? Derek and Phil will take you to the unexplored wilds and unlock some of the treasures off the beaten track.

About the Eastbourne Downland Group

The Eastbourne Downland Group (EDG) formed in 2017 following a successful campaign to keep the Eastbourne Downland Estate in public ownership.

The EDG is pleased to support the Eastbourne and Lewes Walk Fest now in its third year. The group’s mission: to facilitate world class walks and year-round events that are informative, entertaining and inspiring and to make them accessible to all. EDG aims to reach the widest possible audience and to create events that are inclusive.

EDG’s ambition is to establish a town-wide learning and participation programme that supports the education of all ages on land management, and the conservation of the environment. Over the next decade EDG will work towards producing events to celebrate the centenary of the Eastbourne Downland Estate in 2029.

EDG are grateful to have received support with the creation and realisation of this year’s quartet of Walk Fest events from the following: Eastbourne Borough Council, The Hydro Hotel,  South Downs National Park Authority, The Eastbourne Downs Golf Club, The Art School, The University of Brighton, Bob Edgar and The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

For more information contact: eastbournedownlandgroup@gmail.com


Eastbourne Downland Group’s Walk Fest Guides

Phil Belden

Phil Belden is a Chartered Environmentalist, with two score years of experience dedicated to Protected Areas. Until recently, he held a directorial role in the South Downs National Park Authority. He is currently advising the Sussex Wildlife Trust. After briefly flirting with a City career, Phil switched to the Environment working first for Dorset Heritage Coast. Whilst with Suffolk Coast & Heaths he co-founded the Sandlings Group, to conserve Suffolk heathland and set up innovative urban-fringe education initiatives. Following his move to Sussex he established the Seven Sisters Marine Conservation Area and developed the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service. He orchestrated the lobby to achieve Environmentally Sensitive Area status for the South Downs, enabling chalk grassland conservation, woodland and wetland management. He has worked on National Trails, recreation and tourism initiatives, and he progressed the campaign for National Park status. He is a founder member of the Eastbourne Downland Group.