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Welcome to the newsletter for the South Downs National Park. 
Send your comments and ideas to us at


As they enjoy the bloom of 3,000 newly planted primroses and cowslips the people of Steyning wait to see if 2017 will be the year that the Duke of Burgundy butterfly returns to the hills above their town.


With 2017 declared as the ‘Year of Literary Heroes’, we look at how the South Downs’ landscapes influenced the work of poet Edward Thomas, who died on 9 April 1917.


We hate to see those little plastic poo bags swinging from the trees or sat at the side of the path but flicking your dog's poo into the undergrowth isn't the answer.



The Pondtail Wood site - subject to a planning Enforcement Notice, (EN) issued by the South Downs National Park Authority and Forestry Commission Restocking Notice - has been sold.

  1. Join the South Downs’ 7th birthday walk (from Midhurst).
  2. Go bunny orienteering at Selborne.
  3. Find out how the South Downs and Brighton inspired Constable in a new exhibition.
  4. Take part in the Brighton Mayoral charity bike ride and walk.
  5. Discover Saddlescombe, an ancient downland farm that was once owned by the Knights Templars.
 Find other events and activities across the National Park and submit your own.


Show us how you Take the Lead in the South Downs and you could win delicious treats for your dog, courtesy of local pet food company Arden Grange.

To enter follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, take a snap of your dog leading you on a walk in your favourite location in the South Downs National Park, then share it using #TakeTheLeadTo. Find out more


We’re excited to see this breeding pair of barn owls back in their nest box. Last year we watched them raise two chicks. Will they be successful this year?
Watch the South Downs barn owl cam


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

Answering this month is:
Lillian Wakely, Community Infrastructure Liaison Officer for the SDNPA


What is the Community Infrastructure Levy?


The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations, introduced in April 2010, allows local authorities in England and Wales to raise funds from developers who are undertaking new building projects. In most cases gaining planning permission to carry out development will increase the value of the land. At the same time most developments will have an impact on local infrastructure. Through the CIL developers have to give some of this financial gain back to the community in the form of creating new, or improving existing, infrastructure.


I look after a 12th century church in the National Park (Pulborough Parish) and the small parish has to meet a bill of several thousand pounds in the coming year. The CIL was mentioned to me. I wonder if you could suggest how I could find out whether it applies.


Pulborough Parish Council are developing a Neighbourhood Development Plan, in which case, once the Plan is ‘made’, the Pulborough Parish will be entitled to 25% of CIL monies. Whilst there is no NDP in place, the Parish will be entitled to 15% of CIL monies. The Parish Council must use CIL receipts passed to it to support the development of the local council’s area by funding the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure.

The South Downs National Park will be charging CIL from 01 April and we will be liaising with Parish Council’s on the spending and allocation of CIL monies in due course.

Read more of Lillian's answers to your questions

NEXT MONTH: The South Downs National Park

Does the National Park give value for money? Why doesn’t the SDNPA own any land in the National Park? Why does the SDNPA allow houses to be built in the National Park?
Send your questions for Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive for the South Downs National Park Authority


Michael Beer from Cheriton says:
I see much interest and enthusiasm for night skies and environmental preservation in your documentation. Is this not a complete sham and disingenuous bearing in mind the Boomtown event which [you] actively condone. This is of substantial interest to residents who live in the park.
Tim Slaney, Director of Planning for the South Downs National Park Authority responds:
The possible impact of the Boomtown Festival on the special qualities of the National Park was given important consideration when our Planning Committee gave approval for the Matterley Estate to hold one large music festival and one large sport endurance event a year on a temporary basis for five years.

This permission is subject to a number of conditions including noise, lighting and environmental monitoring. We also now have a legal agreement in place to secure improvements to the Site of Special Scientific Interest on the site, the South Downs Way which passes through the site and the Cheesefoot Head car park.

As with almost everything that happens in the South Downs, we have to find a way to balance people’s enjoyment and appreciation of the National Park with keeping these landscapes special for future generations. We know that young adults, aged under 25, are unlikely to know about national parks in general and the South Downs specifically.

This is something that we want to address. Boomtown is an opportunity to talk and meet a different group of people to our usual event attendees and support them to discover this part of the National Park. This year we will have a small presence at the event but we hope to do more with Boomtown in the future so that those attending know they are in a National Park and have the opportunity to learn about it and support its future.

Our officers are actively involved in the monitoring and review of the festival and do appreciate that there are short-term impacts to the local community,. However these are short-term and as part of our ongoing work with the estate and festival organisers, we are looking at improvements they can make to minimise these at future events. In the meantime these events should assist the estate to continue to care for and improve our landscapes across the rest of the year.
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.


New foodie tourism service for hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs

Sign up your business now at if you'd like to be one of the first hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs to use the free Local Food Detective, helping you stay ahead in attracting foodie guests to stay with you!

"The Natural Partnerships' South Downs food project is a fantastic idea, and will allow visitors exploring the famous national park to find and enjoy local specialities like English sparkling wine and wild venison."
Environment Secretary Rt Hon. Andrea Leadsom MP

Locals and visitors can find out where to eat, buy and enjoy local food 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 March 2017.

  • Developed 15 new National Park walks, horse rides and cycle rides to publish on View Ranger.
  • Talked to dog walkers and owners to promote our Take the Lead responsible dog walking campaign at eight key sites including Devil’s Dyke, and Seven Sisters Country Park.
  • Planted locally sourced plug plants at Truleigh Hill butterfly bank to encourage priority butterfly species.
  • Erected electric fencing on a SSSI above Beeding where we are working in partnership with the landowner to introduce goats.
  • Work on South Downs Way included repairing all signs at Seven Sisters, the steps and interpretation panel at the Eastbourne end of the trail and installing five new finger posts near Amberley
  • Collected litter at Tide Mills and Seven Sisters Country Park with Duke of Edinburgh Scheme students.
  • Carried out chalk grassland restoration on SSSIs in Clayton, the Long Man of Wilmington and Mill Hill local nature reserve.
  • Cleared invasive scrub at Steyning bowl and Storrington Hill SNCI and Lancing Ring LNR/SNCI and installed 50m of post and rail fencing around Lancing Ring dew pond.
  • Worked with the South Pond Group in Midhurst to install bat and bird boxes and start water quality testing.
  • Trained 11 volunteers to carry out riverfly monitoring on the River Meon, Rother and Hamble.
  • Worked with the Wild Trout Trust on the second phase of Meon river restoration in East Meon.
  • Created heat maps for farmers in the central downs showing number of records for key indicator species.


Thank you to @phil.williams.986 for sharing "his tree" at Cissbury Ring with us. Please share your pictures with us @southdownsnp


It's blossom time! Thank you @SkylarkArtist for these almond flowers.
Tweet us @SDNPA or @Ranger_sdnpa.


What's caught our attention this month:


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