© SpellerMilner Design 2004
A typical view looking out across the South Downs.
The Downs - also called downland, especially in the chalk areas of
southern Britain - are
characterized by lack of trees and are used mainly as pasture. They are
immensely popular with people who enjoy outdoor pursuits, such as
walking, cycling, horse riding and hang gliding. The renowned South Downs Way extends
all the way from Winchester to Eastbourne, passing close by Findon on
way. Downland is actually rolling upland, so the Downs are up and
upland is downland. Logical, eh?
Ring is favoured by dog walkers because it can be approached
by car, either from Findon Valley (where there's a suitable car park),
or from Nepcote, or from Findon Village (where there are few parking
The Iron Age hillfort itself can easily be reached from Findon Village
by foot and provides glorious views of the Downs.
[How to get to get to Cissbury Ring].
Ring is rather more secluded and quite a long walk from
Findon, but also offers spectacular views of the Downs. [How to get to get to Chanctonbuy Ring].
Hill, site of Britain's oldest flint mines, can easily be
reached on foot from Findon and offers a spectacular view of Cissbury
Ring. [How to get to Church Hill].
Hikers who visit these sites, or travel the South
Downs, frequently stop off at Findon's oldest watering hole, the Gun Inn for a pint or two, of
The South Downs
Virtual Information Centre
provides information on the bylaws that govern public rights of way in
the English countryside.
Whenever you visit the countryside, please just take
photographs and only leave footprints, so other people who follow later
may enjoy the wild flowers and litter free surroundings. Also, please
leave all gates as you found them, ensure any dogs are kept under
control and keep footpaths clear. Thank you.
Some of the information on this page is
download in PDF format, requiring Adobe Reader.
The following is an extract from an article in the
'South Downs Campaign Newsletter' by Robin Crane, Chairman South Downs
Campaign. Issue 3 December 2001.
The South Downs National Park public consultation was launched by the
Countryside Agency on 27th November 2001. Campaigning for a South Downs
National Park began in 1929. Opportunities to have them designated in
1934 and following the National Park legislation in 1949 were missed.
As a consequence the area has suffered greatly from development and
lack of resources.
The current campaign is strongly supported by all the major national
volountary bodies concerned with the countryside as well as many local
organizations, including: Council for National Parks, CPRE, CTC,
Friends of the Earth, The Open Spaces Society, The Ramblers, RSPB,
Society of Sussex Downsmen, Sussex Archaeological Society, The Sussex
Wildlife Trust, World Wildlife Fund, Youth Hostel Association.
The Countryside Agency's consultation finished on 28th February 2002.
At a meeting held in Eastbourne, chaired by David Dimbleby 75% out of
300 were in favour of a National Park. Two NOP polls commissioned by
the Ramblers' Association in 1998 and 1999 found that over 80% of
people in the Meridian TV region supported a National Park. More
recently a survey by Arun Disrrict Council found that 80% of people
within its District supported the National Park and over 50% felt it
important that the National Park held the planning powers centrally.
The proposed National Park extends from Twyford in Hampshire eastwards
to Beachy Head in Eastbourne. Findon village is right in the centre of
For further information about the South Downs National Park send an
e-mail to Chris Todd, Campaign Officer, via southdowns at zoom.co.uk or
visit the South Downs Campaign Web site www.southdownscampaign.org.uk
The South Downs Campaign is a grouping of over 80
support the creation of a South Downs National Park.
This network of organisations is working for the best possible South
Downs National Park and includes:
Council for National Parks, Council for the Protection of Rural England
(CPRE), Friends of the Earth (FOE), Open Spaces Society, Ramblers'
Association, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), The
Wildlife Trusts, WWF-UK, Youth Hostels Association (YHA);
Butterfly Conservation - Sussex Branch, Council for British Archaeology
- South East, CPRE Hampshire, CPRE Sussex, CTC South East, FOE
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Network, FOE South East, Ramblers'
Association Sussex, Ramblers' Association Hampshire, Society of Sussex
Downsmen, Sussex Archaeological Society, Sussex Wildlife Trust, YHA
Ashdown Rambling Club, Benfield Wildlife & Conservation Group,
Bexhill Ramblers Club, Bishopstone & Norton Preservation
Committee, Bricycles, Brighton & Hove and Mid-Sussex FOE,
Brighton & Hove CTC, Brighton Urban Wildlife Group,
Catherington Village Residents' Association, Chichester FOE, Chichester
Society, Cycle Lewes, Ditchling Society, East Blatchington Pond
Conservation Society, East Hampshire CPRE, East Preston &
Kingston Preservation Society, East Sussex Transport 2000, Eastbourne
Ratepayers Association, Emsworth Residents Association, Federation of
Arun District Amenity Groups, Felpham Village Conservation Society,
Friends of Lewes, Friends of the West End Henfield, Friends of
Waterhall, Funtington Parish Council, Godalming and Haslemere Ramblers'
Association, Gosport & Fareham FOE, High Weald Walkers, Keep
Our Downs Public, Keep The Ridge Green, Kirdford Conservation Society,
Lewes District FOE, Lewes Footpaths Group, Liss Conservation
Volunteers, Liss Forest Residents' Association, Liss Village Design
Group, Pells Amenity Group, Petersfield Society, Preston & Old
Patcham Society, Ramblers' Association - Arun Adur Group, Ramblers'
Association - Beachy Head Group, Ramblers' Association - Crawley
& North Sussex Group, Ramblers' Association - Heathfield
& District Group, Ramblers' Association - Horsham and
Billingshurst Group, Ramblers' Association - Meon Group, Ramblers'
Association - Mid-Sussex Group, Ramblers' Association - North Hampshire
Downs Group, Ramblers' Association - Rother Group, Ramblers'
Association - South West Sussex Group, Ramblers' Association - Waltham
Group, Rotherlands Conservation Group, Slindon Common Residents'
Association, South East Hants Ramblers' Association, South of High
Street Angmering Residents' Association, Summersdale Residents'
Association, Sussex Pathfinders Rambling Club, Sussex Ouse Restoration
Trust, The Angmering Society, The Brighton Society, The Grace Eyre
Foundation, The Kingscliffe Society, The Round Hill Society, Villagers
and Countryside, West Liss Residents' Association.
To make a donation please make cheques payable to South Downs
Campaign and send them to the Campaign Officer. To join or
become a supporter please
contact the Campaign Officer for details.
SOUTH DOWNS CAMPAIGN CONTACT INFORMATION
South Downs Campaign
PO Box 3473
Tel 01273 563 358
Fax 01273 553 044
Mobile 07889 302 229
Make sure you respond to the South Downs National
Park public consultation.
Please write to the ministers and lobby your local and county
councillors, many of whom appear to be ignoring their electorate and
opposing the National Park.
enables you to find out which constituency you are in, who your local
MP is and how to contact them.
Since September 1999 when the Countryside Agency started
to look at designating the South Downs as a National Park
there has been a lot of speculation about what National Park
status would mean for the South Downs. Much of this has
been based on misinformation and misunderstanding. Here are
some of the many reasons why you should support the designation
of the South Downs as a National Park.
10 REASONS TO
SOUTH DOWNS NATIONAL PARK
1 - National Park purposes
A National Park is established for 2 statutory purposes:
To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural
To promote opportunities for the public understanding and
enjoyment of the special qualities of the area
These provide a clear focus for the protection and manage-ment
of the whole area.
2 - A positive Authority to co-ordinate and deliver
A National Park Authority is a special purpose local authority
run by local people. It is not a QUANGO. National Park
Authorities are set up to make National Park purposes a reality
- through their own work e.g. grants to farmers for sensitive
farming practice, and add value to others working for the area.
They are permanent and therefore able to take forward long-term
3 - Protecting the area
A National Park Authority would be the planning authority for
the area. This would provide consistent planning policies and a
strategic approach across the whole area. Planning powers
are one of the most effective ways of protecting an area.
Although a National Park controls development it does not stop
it if it is sensitively designed, appropriately scaled and in keeping
with the area's special characteristics. A Park Authority
would be able to help improve the quality of development.
4 - Enhancing the landscape
One of the biggest opportunities in the South Downs area is
the potential for enhancing wildlife, landscape and cultural
heritage. A National Park Authority will be well placed to do
5 - Managing recreation
The South Downs already has over 32 million visits per year.
This is likely to rise with the increasing population in the South
East regardless of whether there is a National Park. A
National Park Authority does not promote tourism - this is the
job of the tourism board, local business and councils. The Park
Authority would have the power, resources and focus to manage
the recreational pressures.
6 - Beacons for sustainable development
Park Authorities are well-placed to be at the forefront of sustainable
development. Park Authorities have the scope to be
innovative and there are many examples of projects piloted in
National Parks that have been rolled out to the wider countryside
- eg. environmentally friendly farm schemes.
7 - Supporting local people
National Park Authorities have a statutory duty to seek to foster
the economic and social well being of local communities in
ways that are compatible with National Park purposes. This
could be in a multitude of ways e.g. helping support village
shops, promoting local produce and supporting public transport
for local people as well as visitors.
8 - Funding benefits
A National Park designation would bring in far greater funding
for conservation than the area receives with its current status.
75% of this funding comes from the National Exchequer. The
25% that comes from the local authorities is reimbursed by the
government, making it effectively 100% centrally funded. This
would lead to substantial savings for councils who currently
support the Sussex Downs Conservation Board. The existence
of a National Park would also help to attract additional external
funding (e.g. from Europe, the Lottery and landfill tax).
9 - Boundary
Designating a National Park means that the boundary is
looked at afresh and areas currently excluded from the AONBs
which merit special protection will be included. The new
boundary would be permanent and meet today's views and
10 - Adding value
A National Park Authority will employ expert staff, which will
add value to the work of existing bodies such as councils and
voluntary sector organisations.
Copies of the consultation document are available
free of charge from the Countryside Agency. Telephone
0870 120 6466 and ask for CA90 (summary) or
CA89 (full consultation report with detailed maps).
The following is based on an extract from an
action sheet entitled Write on Time! dated December
Despite the good (and historic news) on 14 November 2002 when the
Countryside Agency Board unanimously agreed to recommend to Government
that it set up a SouthDowns National Park, this is a critical part of
the designation process.
At the end of January 2003 the South Downs National Park
Designation Order was placed on deposit for 28 days. People need to
take immediate action.
It is essential that as many people as possible then write in support
of the designation of the South Downs as a National Park so that the
is left in no doubt that this is what we want, and want soon. Latest
by the Countryside Agency state that a National Park Authority may not
be set up until 2007!
It is also important that if you want an area included in the National
that you register your objection to the exclusion of that area from the
Countryside Agency's proposed boundary during this time. If you don't
not have the right to appear at the (likely) public inquiry and put
in front of an independent inspector.
What you needed to do
Now the Designation Order has been placed on deposit you should write
formally register your views. You need to get your response in by 28th
February 2003. Please urge friends, family and colleagues to write too.
What should you say?
You are of course free to write whatever you like but we urge all our
supporters to make sure they say that they:
- Support the designation of the South Downs as a
- Would like to see it set up as soon as possible
and believe that
waiting until 2007 or later is unacceptable and unnecessary.
- Support the boundary in general except for a
(or areas) that should be included in the National Park. (Object
to this area/these areas being excluded.)
- Support the proposed administrative
arrangements, particularly the National
Park Authority having strong planning powers.
Where should you send it?
You should send your letter to:
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
South Downs National Park Secretariat
4/24 Hawk Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Fax 0117 372 8102
Your views matter!
Please spare the time to help safeguard the future of the South Downs.
UPDATE - The deadline was 28th February
2003. The consultation period has now ended!