Allison’s top five most accessible spots in the South Downs National Park

Did you know our ambition is to make the South Downs the UK’s most accessible National Park?

Work has already begun in earnest to create new routes across this stunning landscape that offer easy access for people with limited mobility – and we’re planning many more in the future!

So, as we mark #NationalWalkingMonth, I wanted to recommend five places in the National Park that are really accessible – and the views aren’t bad either! All of these trails and destinations are suitable for people with restricted mobility, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and pushchairs. Much of this work has been made possible by Gatwick Airport who are sponsoring our Miles Without Stiles initiative.

Here are my top tips for a great morning or afternoon out in your National Park:

Bramber, West Sussex

One for the history lovers! The historic village of Bramber with its charming medieval castle is the starting point for this riverside route. Running alongside the River Adur this route is set against the backdrop of the South Downs and offers some picture-perfect views. Learn more

Seaford Head, East Sussex

If you like a breathtaking vista, this will not disappoint! Offering spectacular views over Cuckmere Haven and the Seven Sisters, we have two routes with hardstanding surfaced paths that are wide enough for two mobility vehicles to pass. There are also several benches at key viewpoints – the perfect spot for an Instagram shot or a flask of tea while you soak up those views. Learn more

Alice Holt Forest, Hampshire

Forming the most northerly gateway to the National Park, this former Royal forest is steeped in history as its famous oak trees were used to build Royal Navy warships in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard. Today it is a beautiful example of English woodland, with a wonderful Easy Access Trail. The trail is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs and has an optional shortcut. Look out for the majestic Scots Pine! Learn more

Mill Hill Access Trail, West Sussex

One for the nature lovers! Mill Hill is a 28-acre chalk grassland with an abundance of rare species, including Adonis blue and chalkhill blue butterflies, the yellow herb horseshoe vetch and the distinctive whitethroat. Mill Hill Access Trail is a 0.3 miles (0.5km) wheelchair friendly circular route with passing and resting places, including a wheel-chair friendly picnic table at the start of the trail. Don’t forget to capture that picture of the River Adur and English Channel as you pass through! Learn more

South Downs Centre, Midhurst, West Sussex

As well as being the home of the National Park Authority, the South Downs Centre in the heart of historic Midhurst is a community hub, offering a fascinating exhibition about the landscape, heritage and produce of this treasured area. A great place to start your day in the South Downs. Open from Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm, Fridays 9am to 4.30pm and Saturdays and Bank Holidays (from April 19 to October 26, 2019) from 9am to 1pm. Come and meet our friendly team and find out more about the National Park!

 

I hope everyone takes advantage of getting out and enjoying their National Park – not just for Disabled Access Day, but every day of the year (come rain or shine!)

Allison ThorpeAllison Thorpe, Access and Recreation Lead for the South Downs National Park Authority