The Council of Trustees is the Society’s governing body. It is ultimately responsible for the management of the Society, setting its strategy and ensuring it meets its statutory purposes and charitable objectives.

Council normally comprises up to 12 Trustees with widely varying backgrounds; from conservation, the legal profession, banking, advertising and business.

All Trustees are appointed to the Council for an initial term of three years and are eligible for re-election for a further term.

David Sawyer


After a career on the railways David retired from his role as Engineering Director (Rail) with GoAhead (thameslink, southern etc.) in 2007.
He joined the SDS Council the same year and subsequently served as Treasurer, Vice Chair and now Chair. He and his wife are keen strollers and regularly join and lead society strolls.
Making a difference on the downs is David’s key priority, shared by Trustees. Providing seats, replacing stiles with gates and rebuilding part of the South Downs Way are just some of the society’s projects which, together with the work of District Officers and Area Access Officers, really do make a difference.

Glynn Jones

Tree Planting Project Lead

Glynn was appointed as the first National Trust Warden on the South Downs in 1979 and worked with the Trust until 2007 when he retired as Property Manager (Estate Manager) for the West Sussex Countryside Properties.
He was seconded for two years to the Countryside Agency to work on the roll-out and mapping of the Open Access provisions of the CRoW Act. 3.
He has been a Trustee of the South Downs Society for many years.

Andrew Lovett

Vice Chairman & Treasurer

Andrew has been the Society’s Treasurer for the last seven years. He is enthusiastic about protecting the beauty of the South Downs.
He has led for the Society on two cultural projects, one about the songs and folklore of the Downs and the other enabling children to learn about past life on the Downs.
Andrew is a qualified accountant and applies his experience to help the Society get the best from its resources.

John Templeton

District Officer

John grew up in Chichester and, following a 37 year planning career with county and city planning authorities and for London boroughs, retired back to the city in 2008.
From 1997 to 2009 he represented the Youth Hostels Association on the South Downs Campaign Executive Committee which resulted in designation of the South Downs National Park.
He previously served as a trustee for the South Downs Society from 2003-2006 and since 2008 has been District Officer for Area 2 (Chichester to Midhurst). He is a past Vice Chairman of the Chichester Society and is currently joint Vice Chairman of the Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee.

Richard Reed

CNP Liaison Representative

Richard was born in Middlesex and was called up for army service in 1946. Joining the Society (then the Society of Sussex Downsmen) the following year, he spent his working life in Westminster Bank, later a constituent of NatWest. He was in London branch banking until becoming the bank’s archivist for his last ten years.
Richard married in 1956, setting up home in Horsham. In 1962 He became active in the Society. He joined the Downs Preservation Committee and subsequently became a Trustee. Between 1980 and 2003 he served three terms as Society Chairman.
When the Sussex Downs Conservation Board, forerunner of the National Park Authority, was set up he served as a government-appointed member from1992 to 2003.
On the announcement that National Parks were to be formed in the South Downs and the New Forest, the Society declared full support, joining the South Downs Campaign and was also invited to become a constituent member of the influential Campaign for National Parks, on which he represents the Society.

Chris Steibelt

Social Media Lead

Chris spent most of his working life overseas being involved with international shipping and logistics in various senior management positions. He returned to the UK in 2016, settling in Stedham near Midhurst.
During 2020, after retiring, he became involved with various local volunteer groups including Midhurst Green Volunteers, Sustrans and Midhurst Area Cycling.
Walking, cycling and running take up a fair amount of his spare time; and he hopes to be able to put these to good use in contributing to the work of the Society.

Caroline Douglas

Lead on Benches Project and Staff Welfare Officer

Caroline started her career in advertising and then moved into education; latterly in Special Educational Needs.
Having lived in London for many years, she moved to a small village in The Downs 20 years ago and still can’t believe how lucky she is to live in such a wonderful place.
Her main interests are art, architecture, history and the natural world. She is passionate about conserving The Downs for the future and encouraging access for all.

Paul Wilkinson

Membership & Marketing Committee Chairman

Paul spent his career in human resources across a wide range of business sectors, is a Chartered FCIPD, and has experience in the charity/volunteering world through Citizens Advice.
His enthusiasm for the countryside developed in N.E. England and Scotland; he has lived in West Sussex since 2003.
Paul joined the Society in 2014, and is a regular walker and walk leader. He was co-opted onto the Council in March 2020 and is Chair of the Membership and Marketing Committee.
He believes in sensitively conserving the unique landscape of the South Downs so that it can be enjoyed by all, rather than preserving it in aspic.

Patrick Haworth

Legislation Audit Lead, District Officer

Patrick has a background in farming, having trained in agriculture and economics before joining a major bank; first in branch banking but later in corporate finance.
Previously a member of the Access & Rights of Way Committee, he remains an Area Access Officer and Walks/Strolls Leader.
Patrick is also a District Officer for the Mid Sussex Area covering planning and conservation matters.

David Coldwell

Planning & Conservation Committee Chairman

Born and educated in Dublin, David’s family moved to Surrey about the time he left school.
After a period at sea in the Merchant Navy, rising through the ranks to command of large tankers, he moved to Hong Kong where he was employed in senior management positions or Managing Director in various companies.
On returning to England, he moved to Small Dole to be near Hurstpierpoint where his wife had family connections.
He was a parish councillor for 12 years at the Upper Beeding PC, about half that time as Chairman; elected to the Horsham District council 2010 to 2019 and was appointed to the South Downs National Park Authority 2015 to 2019.
With the SDNPA he was on the planning committee, as he had been at Horsham.
He joined the Society in 2019, was immediately appointed as a District Officer and at first Planning & Conservation Committee meeting he was elected Vice Chairman.

David Green

Access & Rights of Way Committee Chairman, District Officer

David has lived in Sussex for 40 years. He is a school governor and parish councillor and currently chair the latter’s planning committee.
He retired as s solicitor five years ago and now walks twice a week with the Society, including as a leader. He IS also a DO and an AAO for the Society and has recently been appointed to chair the Access and Rights of Way Committee.
He says, “The South Downs are now in my blood. I accept though that some change is inevitable.”
He sees the role of the Society is not to oppose all change, but to help manage and shape that change; remembering at all times that the overriding mission is the conservation and enhancement for the public benefit of the beauty and amenities of the South Downs.

Nicholas Isaac

South Downs Generations Project Lead

The majority of Nicholas’ career has been in the services, namely the Royal Airforce in which he trained as an Aircraft Technician specialising in airframe engineering. Service was in mainland UK with 2 overseas tours in Germany and Sardinia NATO forces.
He has a wealth of Finance and Management knowledge in contracts and projects which he as key to his role of overseeing the current Heritage lottery project.
He has a passion for the countryside and conservation.