Walk in memory of Sussex forest chief who died aged just 42

Friends, family and colleagues of James Adler - the former Chief Executive at Ashdown Forest - will be taking part in a special 111km walk in his memory later this month.

James died suddenly in May 2023 at the age of 42. In the relatively short time that he was in the role, James was instrumental in developing the vision for Ashdown Forest’s future, focusing on the protection and enhancement of its unique landscape.

'James’ Walk' will start at Climping Beach in West Sussex on Thursday April 25, ending with a memorial gathering on Ashdown Forest in the High Weald at 2pm on Sunday April 28.

Mark Pearson - the new Chief Executive - worked with James in Surrey, and said the walk will be a fitting tribute. He said: "James was an amazing man. He was passionate about the Forest and had been working on a strategy to safeguard Ashdown Forest and its biodiversity for future generations.

"He was also deeply involved in establishing and growing the Weald to Waves project, a nature recovery corridor across Sussex that is vital to forging connections for our fragmented wildlife and boosting biodiversity alongside food production and thriving communities.

"His death came as a shock to so many and we all miss him terribly. This four-day walk is our way of thanking James for everything he did."

The walk will raise funds for The Ashdown Forest Foundation (registered charity no. 1183829) to support projects on the Forest that were particularly close to James' heart. Donations can be made at The Ashdown Forest Foundation is fundraising for The Ashdown Forest Foundation (justgiving.com)

All who wish to remember and celebrate James’ life are warmly invited to join the gathering at Friends clump on Ashdown Forest at 2pm on Sunday 28th April. Those wishing to walk the last 2km with the walkers can join them at Millbrook East car park on the A22, ready to set off promptly at 1pm. This is just north of Nutley, TN22 3HW.

James loved wearing his blue and yellow woollen bobble hat when out walking, so the walkers will all be wearing bobble hats too. Walkers are invited to wear a bobble hat too, if they would like.

More information can be found on Facebook under James’ Walk More about Ashdown Forest here.

For more about the Weald to Waves project, please visit wealdtowaves.co.uk.