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The wonderful benefits of the South Downs for children’s mental health

The wonderful benefits of the South Downs for children’s mental health

Did you know that the mental health benefits of going for a walk can last seven hours?

The link between the great outdoors and wellness is nothing new, but mounting evidence across a range of studies points towards there being a real scientific connection between experiencing the natural world and a long-lasting positive impact on mental health.

Whether it’s a long country walk along Harting Down, interacting with wildlife at Pulborough Brooks, or soaking up the awe-inspiring views at Cuckmere Haven, the South Downs is a treasure trove of feel-good opportunities.

Computers, social media and homework are all part of normal life for children, but try taking an afternoon out in the National Park once a month and “getting away from it all” will do wonders for wellness – for both children and parents!

Here are some of our ideas on staying healthy inside and out:

  1. Visit Queen Elizabeth Country Park’s story trail – it’s lots of fun! There’s also a children’s play areas for all ages, adventure play area, assault course, orienteering trail, pond, picnic area and café. A great afternoon out for all the family.
  2. Check out our accessible routes – they are great for pushchairs, wheelchairs and people with limited mobility.
  3. Use these Nature Detectives sheets and see if you can identify some winter trees. Head for Kingley Vale to see one of Europe’s ancient yew forests. A truly memorable experience!
  4. Check out the new heathland sculpture trail – each one has it’s own unique story related to the site they sit on. We don’t expect you to visit them all in one day but it would be a great weekly activity over the school summer holidays.
  5. And, if you can’t easily get outside, you can still explore the amazing habitats of the South Downs through our 360 degree films. See the woodlands, heathlands and chalk streams of the South Downs like never before.

And as well as feeling great, there’s an additional bonus. Experiencing this amazing natural world on our doorstep is often free, or a very low cost compared to other children’s activities.

So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy YOUR National Park and start reaping the mental health benefits of this inspiring place.


"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."