Charity and Environment
We recycle as much as we can from our races; race signs are used as many times as possible, any plastic cups and bottles used at water stations and checkpoints are kept seperate and taken to local recycling facilities after the race and as much else as we can. Often people carry a water bottle during races which helps as they can be filled up at water stations and reduce usage of plastic cups.
All our race briefings highlight the problem of litter and remind our participants to be careful not to drop any and pick up any that they see. We ask that you be aware of litter on the course and pick up anything you see to dispose of it in the next checkpoint you reach.
The South Downs National Park is England’s newest National Park, having become a Park in April 2011. The park, covering an area of 628 sq miles, stretches from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east through the counties of Hampshire, West and East Sussex and into the edge of Surrey.
The South Downs Way is the best known trail in the Park, but in 2006 the National Park created the Serpent Trail to highlight, link up and therefore protect the areas of Heathland.
This is from the South Downs Park Authority (SDNPA) website;
Stretching between Petersfield and Storrington these heaths are among the rarest of all the habitats in the Downs, covering just one per cent. The 64-mile long Serpents Trail helps to reconnect them for people to enjoy, and heathland managers are working together to link fragmented heathland patches back together to benefit wildlife.
Because many of these remaining patches of heathland are isolated from one another, they have become less resilient.
The heaths have separated into ‘islands’ where isolated plants and animals are far more vulnerable to local extinction. This habitat is home to some of Britain’s rarest wildlife including all twelve of our native reptiles and amphibians.
The Serpent’s Trail is part of the Sussex Wealden Greensand Heaths Project, whose volunteers work year round to restore and preserve the National Park’s heathland. Eleven organisations led by the South Downs National Park Authority have joined forces to expand and connect the existing 1% of heathland left in the national park.
They have reintroduced rare species such as the field cricket to Lord’s Piece and Chapel Common, cut back trees that shade out low plants and laid out marker posts along the trail for us all to follow. They are supported in their work by several local farmers, who, since 2005, have reinstated cattle grazing on several heathland sites to ensure they support a rich diversity of wildlife.
The Serpent Trail races are working with the SDNPA to raise the profile and awareness of this unique Trail, which will in turn help protect and conserve the habitats and spaces. We liaise with Park Rangers about areas of the Trail that need attention, we will be checking and re-signing the Trail and donating £3 per participant to the South Downs National Park Trust, which is ring-fenced for directly funding projects and practical conservation in the Park.
Here is the website for the South Downs National Park.
The Serpent Trail goes through many wooded areas. The Woodland Trust is the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity. Founded in 1972, they were the first to stand against the spiralling threats to our precious woods and trees, and remain at the forefront of the fight to protect, plant and restore UK woodland.
Trees and woods filter our air, cool our cities, purify our water and enrich our soil. Yet the damage done to them has now reached catastrophic levels, and our plant and animal species are declining at an alarming rate.
Woodland Carbon is the Woodland Trust’s unique scheme to help companies reduce their carbon footprint by locking up carbon emissions through planting trees. They create new woodland and harness nature’s simple and powerful way of removing carbon dioxide from the environment.
Freedom Racing has worked with the Woodland Trust to create 75m2 of new native woodland. In time this will absorb at least 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide, helping to reduce our business carbon footprint.
We have estimated the mileage that the Freedom Racing van will cover this year plus ALL the other vehicles that are involved with the running of ALL our events over the next 12 months and contributed the amount recommended by the Woodland Trust to plant enough trees to absorb that carbon back up, as well as provide habitat for wildlife.