Responsible dog owners welcome here!
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Welcome to the newsletter for the South Downs National Park. 
Send your comments and ideas to us at


The vast majority of dog owners who use the South Downs love their animals and wouldn’t dream of doing anything to harm the countryside. Join us behind the scenes in the South Downs' annual campaign encouraging more people to Take the Lead.


How does the Government's new White Paper, ‘Fixing our Broken Housing Market’ link to our own ambitions for the future of the National Park - both in terms of our developing Local Plan and our specific ambitions to support more affordable housing.


"They loved it! They really enjoyed the whole experience and felt that there was a purpose to their learning." One teacher's experience of using the National Park to bring the English lessons to life.


Statement from Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive for the South Downs National Park Authority.

  1. Join a bird song masterclass at RSPB Pulborough Brooks
  2. Make a milking stool at the Sustainability Centre
  3. Hand-craft a stained glass window panel at Charleston
  4. Celebrate Mother’s Day at Amberley Museum
  5. Teachers: get your hands dirty at the Our South Downs Annual Conference
 Find other events and activities across the National Park and submit your own.


'A poetic and stunning portrait of the South Downs National Park.’ Sunday Times

Britain’s newest National Park takes centre stage in this documentary presented by author and local parish priest Peter Owen-Jones. The programme is available to watch on BBC I-player for 28 days from 21 February.

And look out for a special South Downs National Park episode of BBC Countryfile, featuring dark night skies, the South Downs Way National Trail and much more - to be broadcast on Sunday 5 March at 7pm.


Send us your questions about a particular area of work in the National Park.

Answering this month is:
Jonathan Dean, Education Officer for the South Downs National Park Authority


How do I find out more about what is going on for schools in the National Park?


"You can subscribe to our termly teachers’ newsletter to get all the latest goings on from across the National Park, including updates from learning outside the classroom providers, national park projects and details of the travel grant scheme.

"Most importantly please come along to the free ‘Our South Downs Annual Teachers’ Conference’ in Plumpton on 29 March. The event is designed to support teachers to use the South Downs as a resource and this year we’ve got inspirational talks lined up from Dr Sue Waite and Ian Blackwell at Natural Connections and Pam and Claire from Park Discoverers. Teachers can also get hands-on in a wide range of interactive workshops and take new ideas back to school to share with pupils and colleagues."

Read more of Jonathan's answers to your questions

NEXT MONTH: Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

What is the Community Infrastructure Levy? What development will be liable for CIL? How will the money be spent? Send your questions for Lilian Wakely, CIL Officer for the South Downs National Park


Caroline Gorton from Brighton says:
“I have recently been very disturbed by the use of drones whilst I have been out walking. One stunning sunset evening near Alfriston a drone hovered above me for some time and then dropped to the path – some distance – but very much watching/filming. With no other person in sight it left me feeling very disturbed. Near Woodingdean there is a regular group of flyers with very noisy machines.
“Can we consider the option of making the South Downs a drone free area, can we limit the noise pollution? These are likely to become much more common and I would like to know if others share my views and if we could consider a consultation on this issue.”

Read the National Park Authority's response
Do you have a story you want to tell about the National Park? A burning issue about the South Downs that you think needs to be addressed? Send it to us at

Please note that only contributors who submit their full name and address can be considered for publishing though we will not publish your full addresses. Please make it clear whether you are speaking on your own behalf or that of an organisation you represent. We reserve the right to shorten comments and edit where necessary.


Congratulations to Michael Sutherland from The Star Inn, Alfriston and Cowdray Farm Shop, Midhurst, West Sussex both winners at the Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2017 – also to the many other South Downs food and drink businesses named as runners up across the ten categories.

Michael won Sussex Young Chef of the Year and Cowdray Farm Shop was named Sussex Food Shop of the Year. This is the 11th year of the awards which aim to support and boost local farmers, food and drink producers and the outlets which use and sell their fare.

See the full list of winners and runners up. Find more great food and drink from in and around the National Park at


Don’t forget to say hello if you spot our Rangers and volunteers out working in the National Park. Here’s a taste of what they achieved in February 2017.

  • Installation of new tramper friendly kiss gates, improving access at Kingley Vale NNR in West Sussex.
  • Volunteer spent 42 task days clearing scrub on chalk grassland and heathland on 30 different sites, with 8 different organisations including National Trust, Natural England, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Lewes District Council, Eastbourne Borough Council and Pyecombe Golf Course.
  • Work to improve rare chalk grassland was carried out at Beeding Hill in West Sussex and Beddingham Hill in East Sussex.
  • Repaired fences to enable cattle to graze at Mill Hill nature reserve near Shoreham and installed a new water trough to support grazing at Graffham Down in West Sussex.
  • Birch and pine have been cleared from a small pocket of heathland at Hammer Wood as part of developing a network of heath wildlife corridors.
  • Pines were removed from Woolmer Forest to support this nationally important heathland site.
  • Over the month of January there were 16 days of coppicing on 8 sites across the National Park.
  • This included coppicing to support the pearl bordered fritillary at Church Copse, ancient semi-natural woodland, in West Sussex; Rewel Wood and Lodge Copse in West Sussex; Verdley and Brickfield Copse in Hampshire.
  • Meanwhile coppice rotation continues at Avington Park near Winchester – some of the resulting stakes will be used for securing latrine floats to help monitor the reintroduction of water voles.


Thank you to @caroline.aston for this reminder that spring is on its way! Please share your pictures with us @southdownsnp


Look closer and you can still see the rose petals and bread used to welcome this 6ft-tall oak waymarker to Binsted village. It's carved with local folklore figures like the Green Man and knucker dragons. Thank you to @SomptingDowns for sharing. Tweet us @SDNPA or @Ranger_sdnpa.


What's caught our attention this month:


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