Communicating the South Downs

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Serpent Trail

Explore the heathlands of the South Downs by following the 64 mile long Serpent Trail.

On this walk you will see the beautiful and internationally rare lowland heath habitat, 80% of which has been lost since the early 1800s, often through neglect and tree planting on previously open areas. It is based upon the sandy rocks and soils from which its name derives and has characteristic habitats of heathland, woodland, acid grassland and acid bogs.

Designed to highlight the outstanding landscape, wildlife and history of the greensand hills, you’ll pass through purple heather, green woods and golden valleys. Simply follow the Serpent Trail way-marker discs to explore some of the most breathtaking countryside in the South East.

Heathlands are now rarer than rainforest and one of our most threatened habitats, covering a mere 1% (1,595 hectares) of the South Downs National Park.

In 2002, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) provided a grant to restore this rare habitat and conserve existing areas within West Sussex. The Serpent Trail and the corridor of heathland habitat created along part of it is also important in linking up isolated heathland sites to encourage the recolonisation of once common species, such as the green tiger beetle and Dartford warbler.

Serpent Trail guided walks

Join our Heathland Officer for a series of guided walks of the Serpent Trail in August 2016 click here to book your places

Order Your Guide

Serpent Trail CoverA copy of the Serpent Trail guide costs £3 and can currently be purchased in the following ways:

  • Visiting the South Downs Centre and paying in cash
  • Sending a cheque made payable to South Downs National Park Authority to the following address: Serpent Trail, South Downs National Park Authority, South Downs Centre, Midhurst, North Street, West Sussex, GU29 9DH. Don’t forget to include your address!
  • Visiting our stand at one of the many events we attend during the year

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