fbpx Skip to main content

Why are we a National Park?

Why are we a National Park?

The South Downs National Park has it all – rolling hills, glorious heathland, river valleys, ancient woodland, thriving villages and market towns, and the iconic white cliffs of the Heritage Coast.

Covering over 1600 square kilometres of England’s most valued lowland landscapes in the busiest part of the UK, it has been shaped by the activities of its farmers and foresters, its large estates and communities, its charities and local businesses.

It includes inspirational landscapes, internationally important wildlife, cultural heritage and lively market towns and villages.

No two National Parks are the same and the Government looks to individual National Park Authorities to identify the special qualities of their area

Over 1500 people told us what they thought was most special about the South Downs and although it was hard to narrow it down with so much on offer, the following seven Special Qualities were agreed by the South Downs National Park Authority in 2011:

  1. Diverse, inspirational landscapes and breathtaking views;
  2. A rich variety of wildlife and habitats including rare and internationally important species;
  3. Tranquil and unspoilt places;
  4. An environment shaped by centuries of farming and embracing new enterprise;
  5. Great opportunities for recreational activities and learning experiences;
  6. Well-conserved historical features and a rich cultural heritage;
  7. Distinctive towns and villages, and communities with real pride in their area.

To download the full Special Qualities please use the link below and if you haven’t already been, come and be inspired by the beautiful South Downs.

Special Qualities of the South Downs National Park


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