Posted 1 April 2011 by Andrew Gardner
The South Downs National Park Authority is born today! Coming into full operation on Friday 1 April 2011, it is the latest National Park in England for 60 years. The Park Authority will be working closely with local communities, environmental groups and landowners to protect and enhance the Park for residents and visitors today, and for future generations.
On such a momentous occassion I though it worthwhile to revisit a few facts about this area of outstanding natural beauty that attracts both visitors and the many people who choose to live in and around the Downs in both Sussex and East Hampshire.
The Park covers 1648 square kilometres, stretching from Winchester in the west, to the iconic white chalk cliffs at Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters in the east. The South Downs Way spans the entire length of the Park, it is the only national trail in Britain that lies completely within a National Park.
Despite 85% of the land being farmed land, the Park encompasses large tracts of ancient woodlands, open heathlands and the rolling chalk downlands, the feature many associate most with this beautiful area. It is one of the oldest and richest cultural landscapes in England supporting a rich biodiversity including ancient beech and oak trees, the insect eating Sundew plant, rare orchids, grey partridge, larks and the beautiful Adonis Blue butterfly.
Highest points are Blackdown in Sussex at 280 metres and Butser Hill in Hampshire at 270 metres.
The Park includes a number of towns and villages, the largest being Lewes in East Sussex with a population of 16,000, followed by Petersfield on the Sussex, Hampshire border with 13,300 residents.
Have a look at our portfolio of self catering cottages and homes that lie within the boundary of the South Downs National Park.