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 FSD 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 and benches, 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.

Andrew Lovett

Vice Chairman & Treasurer

Andrew cares passionately about the landscapes of England and is committed to protecting the beauty of the South Downs.
He is currently the Friends’s lead for projects encouraging children to appreciate and value the Downs.  He previously led cultural projects about the songs and folklore of the Downs. Andrew helped coordinate activities celebrating our Centenary year.
Andrew is a qualified accountant and applies his experience to help the Society get the best from its resources.

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 Chair

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 became a member of the Council in 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 Green

Planning & Conservation Committee Chair, Access and Rights of Way Officer

David has lived in Sussex for over 40 years. He has been a parish councillor for over 20 of those years and chairs his parish’s planning committee. He retired as a solicitor in 2018 and now walks twice a week with the Friends, including as a walks leader. He is also a District Officer for the Friends and has been appointed to chair the Planning & Conservation Committee.
He says, “The South Downs are now in my blood.” He believes though that conservation is very different from preservation. He accepts that some change is inevitable, indeed desirable, and sees the role of the Friends as helping to 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.

Paul Gilchrist

Dr Paul Gilchrist is a human geographer based at the University of Brighton with over twenty years of experience researching the geographies of leisure, particularly contested claims to outdoor space. He is an experienced field trip leader, regularly seen walking students to Cuckmere Haven to discuss the making of the South Downs cultural landscape, and down the Ouse Valley to highlight heritage assets, planning controversies and environmental futures. His research expertise is understanding how people encounter their environments and the regulatory practices that emerge to establish claims of access, belonging and ownership.
Paul has been engaged in several funded projects that have revealed the hidden histories of public engagement with green and blue space. In 2012 he published an essay on the history of Beachy Head as a climbing landscape and is currently collaborating on research into new leisure practices and demands for outdoor space by young people, both sanctioned and transgressive.

Janet Goody

Access & Rights of Way Committee Chair, District Officer

Janet grew up in London and started her working life in London before moving south and now lives on the Hampshire /West Sussex border.
She joined the Society when she retired as a solicitor having walked on the South Downs since 1990. Walking is her main hobby and is a regular participant in the Society’s Walks Programme, also leading walks on each programme.
Janet supports policies which do not oppose all change and which encourage more people to be aware of and benefit from the South Downs in some way while at the same time conserving the Downs for now and the future. She was co-opted to the Council of Trustees in July 2022.

Martin Small

Planning & Conservation Committee Vice-Chair, District Officer

Being born and raised in the shadow of the Quantock and Blackdown Hills and Exmoor in Somerset, Martin has long been interested in protected landscapes  During a lengthy career in land use planning, he has worked for local authorities in north Somerset, South Wales and Hampshire, followed by 13 years with the forerunners of the South Downs NPA, for Historic England, and most recently, as a Planning Inspector before retiring in 2022.  
Martin lives in South East Hampshire with his wife and son and is again enjoying helping to look after the Downs as a Trustee and District Officer. He is particularly interested in landscape character and the historic environment, and is a strong supporter of the planning system as a means of managing development to protect and conserve the landscape, wildlife and historic heritage of the Downs whilst meeting the needs of the communities in the National Park.