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Sarah Lavender Smith Friday, 18 November 2011 08:24 TWEET COMMENTS 0

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.



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