South Downs National ParkExplore the South Downs, Britain's tenth National Park and discover a stunning and fascinating landscape recognised for its unique qualities.
Stretching from Beachy Head near Eastbourne in the East to Harting Down in the West this much loved new National Park covers an area of 1,600 km2 and is seen by many as one of 'Britain's Breathing Spaces'. Where else can you find protected chalk Downland, ancient woodlands, spacious heathland and lush river valleys as well as some spectacular coastlines including the glorious white cliffs of the Seven Sisters?
Walking, cycling, horse riding and fishing draws visitors to the South Downs from far and wide. With approximately 1,200 kilometres of public bridleway including the 160 kilometre South Downs Way, specifically designed mountain biking trails and chalk downland that provides good riding even after rain, there is plenty here for those who want to retreat from the bustle of their daily lives in some of the most beautiful countryside in England. For the more adventurous, there is paragliding, hang-gliding, golf, zorbing, kite flying, gliding, mountain-boarding and a range of water sports.
When you walk on the South Downs you walk in the footsteps of ancestors who lived here over 6,000 years ago. Take time to explore these archaeological sites, from Iron Age Hill Forts and ancient Priories to historic castles and working museums. More recently, great country houses and parkland were established notably Firle and Glynde, whilst artists, writers and craftspeople were drawn to the area including the famous Bloomsbury set of Charleston House fame. These attractions can all be visited today, allowing you to step back into a past that is rich in interest.
The Downs have always nurtured their ancient traditions and these can be seen today in the likes of the Lewes Bonfire parades and the Downsmen's songs collected by the Copper family. Absorb yourself in the Sussex character by visiting some of the many events that take place throughout the South Downs, from huge arts, music and literary festivals and world class opera at Glyndebourne, to village shows, tasty weekly farmers markets and month-long food and drink festivals.
The National Park is a living, working landscape, home to vibrant market towns and traditional villages, a wide range of accommodation options, world famous cultural attractions and a multitude of cultural events, many unique to the area.
Less than one hour from London and easily accessible, walking, cycling or taking the bus are the most eco-friendly ways to enjoy the Park. Look out for a number of transport projects and information leaflets encouraging low cost bus journeys and ride-and-walk ideas.
Visit the South Downs National Park website for further information.