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The landscape character of the South Downs is rich and complex. The area’s designation as a National Park recognises that it is a landscape of national importance.

Landscape Character Assessment is an approach that allows us to categorise and describe the landscape in terms of distinct patterns, elements that distinguish them from another. It helps to identify the features that create local distinctiveness and gives the landscape it’s unique ‘sense of place’.

Find Government information about national and regional landscape characters

Landscape Character Assessments are undertaken by county and local authorities to supplement national and regional character assessments.  These character assessments should be considered in the preparation of your Local Landscape Character Assessment. More information on character assessments covering the National Park’s area can be found at:

South Downs Integrated Landscape Character Assessment

The South Downs Integrated Landscape Character Assessment (ILCA) was last updated in 2011. It is an aid to decision making, helping us to understand the landscape, what is important and special about it, and how it may change in the future. As a document it is intended to guide change and development so that it does not damage the characteristics or value of the landscape. It also helps us to identify ways that we can maintain and improve the character of a place. Development proposals will be expected to conserve and enhance landscape character within the National Park.

The South Downs LCA defines 18 general landscape types within the National Park as well as 49 more place-specific ‘character areas’. This helps us to understand the landscape character of the National Park.

South Downs Integrated Landscape Character Assessment (ICLA) 2011

South Downs Integrated Landscape Character Assessment (ICLA) 2005