Posted 9 May 2014 by Andrew Gardner
Did you see the programme Warwick Davis did about visiting Sussex a few weeks ago? I tuned in optimistically but, engaging as he is, I was a bit disappointed by the way the programme skimmed the surface. They probably cut a lot of good footage to fit it into a TV slot. The Davis family's perspective on glamping was eye-opening; I enjoyed his good-natured coverage of the Worthing Birdman Festival and he clearly had the time of his life lawnmower racing at Billingshurst, but we weren't shown much of Sussex.
If you're staying in one of our lovely coastal properties (click here to view), or the city luxury of Brighton and Hove for this month's Brighton Festival, for example, you might want to escape to the South Downs for a few hours. You'll be rewarded with magnificent views, ancient landscapes and rolling skies - and lungfuls of wonderfully clean, clear air. Even if you didn't bring a car you can get to some of the key beauty spots by bus, with services to Stanmer Park, Ditchling Beacon and the Devil's Dyke and if you look on the Brighton and Hove website there are downloadable leaflets for walks that can be accessed by bus. Click here to view our selection of South Downs holiday homes.
Much of the Downs are working areas, particularly for farmers, and at this time of year lambs and other youngstock are a delight to see. You might find yourself walking through fields of livestock, so please try not to disturb them, keep dogs on leads near livestock and leave gates as you find them. There's been a warning from park rangers that illegal motorcycling has caused the death of some sheep, literally scaring them to death; but in general the Downs tracks are used mainly by walkers, cyclists and horse riders, all of whom co-exist very well.
All are part of the scenery and the evolving heritage of the land - tourism is one of today's economic drivers and one of the things I love about the South Downs and its chalk landscape is that in many places you can clearly see how the land use has changed over the centuries. I also love watching gliders and hang-gliders surfing the air currents, though I'm not so sure about rolling down a hill in one of those big plastic balls even if others say it's brilliant fun. I'm pretty sure I'd be sick.