Rolling Around in Southern England's South Downs
Around Beachy Head and Brighton, bucolic trail running in the UK's newest National Park
The grass underfoot is so springy and close-cropped that I feel like I'm running on a putting green. ...
Photo by Phil O'connor
The grass underfoot is so springy and close-cropped that I feel like I'm running on a putting green. Behind me, undulating chalk-white cliffs drop hundreds of feet into the English Channel. Ahead, the main street of a storybook village, adorned with hanging flower baskets, wends past a Tudor-style inn that opened for business before Shakespeare wrote his first play. And all around, sheep watch placidly as I follow other runners through their pasture during the Seaford Half-Marathon trail race.
My family and I came to the idyllic countryside of the Cuckmere Valley in Southeast England after a sticky-sweet stopover in the party-hearty beach town of Brighton. Several days of pub grub and carnival rides made me yearn for the restorative effects of a scenic trail run. Thankfully, I discovered one of the UK's loveliest spots and a slice of its newest national park a half-hour east of Brighton and less than two hours south from London: a region known as the South Downs.