Up on the Downs!
It's just over a year since the South Downs National Park was created in April 2011. It was a long time in the making and many people heaved a sigh of relief when it finally happened. It's only fair to point out, though, that opinion was divided. A national park has strict planning regulations that affect infrastructure as well as buildings, and some people felt this would be detrimental to the local economy. On the whole, I hope most people are satisfied. And I've always wondered why downs aren't called ups, or at least up-and-downs - can anyone enlighten me?
But it's a boon for holidaymakers. It's hard to go wrong with a tranquil holiday home within the national park, which covers more than 1,600 sq km containing so much history and culture. Staying in a lovely self-catering cottage within its boundaries you'll have leisure amenities right on the doorstep, from walking, riding and cycling opportunities to paragliding, hang-gliding, mountain boarding and zorbing - that's the one where you roll down a hill inside a transparent bubble, and I say 'you' for a good reason.
A great idea for families is to look for a holiday cottage on a working farm and see how Sussex farmers help look after the environment - we have a great selection of properties. I was very glad the Big Butterfly Count last month, with teams covering East Sussex and West Sussex, managed to be on quite a nice day amid all the rain. We're proud of our biodiversity round here!
Not far outside the national park, and almost on the coast, cricket lovers still have time to follow the Sussex cricket festival - several matches are scheduled at the Probiz county cricket ground at Hove between now and the beginning of September. And if you need a little carrot to persuade the kids, JLS are playing there at the end of August. Howzat!