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Take Care While You’re Here

Take Care While You’re Here

With millions of visitors to the South Downs every year, we want everyone to have a safe, positive experience of the National Park. 

We ask all visitors to behave responsibly and to respect the Park. After all, this is a Living Landscape home to people who live and work here, as well as livestock and wildlife, including rare species not found anywhere else. 

In an emergency

If you find yourself in need of emergency assistance when in the Park, please call 999. Provide accurate details as to where you are and the nature of the emergency. In some cases, you won’t be near a roadside but if you have GPS on a working phone or access to a map, provide the operator with a grid reference. 

Be cliff aware

The view from the cliffs at Seven Sisters Country Park are some of the most awe-inspiring in the world. However, the cliffs are very old and very fragile. 

Please follow the signs and stick to the path, safely away from the cliff edge. No selfie or photo is worth the risk of potentially falling. Likewise, if walking on the beach, avoid walking directly underneath the cliffs. Landslips can happen at any time and without warning. 

If you do spot anyone in trouble or at immediate risk, please call 999 straight away. 


In the summer months, the fire risk in the South Downs is high to very high.

Help protect habitats and wildlife by not lighting open fires or BBQs in the National Park.

If you spot a BBQ or fire where there shouldn’t be one, please call 101 to report it or dial 999 in an emergency.


There’s some wonderful Downland walks across the National Park. Although the weather is not as wild as in other parts of the UK, it’s important to remember how exposed the hills are, especially to wind and rain.

As always, follow Alfred Wainwright’s advice: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” 


All the land in the South Downs National Park is privately owned and no ‘wild camping’ is permitted anywhere in the National Park.

If you are intending to camp, you must receive the landowners’ permission beforehand.

Camping without permission is a criminal offence and you may be prosecuted. 


Please be ‘tick aware’ whenever you are in the countryside.

Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures found in moist areas of dense vegetation or long grass in woodland, grassland, moorland, heathland and some urban parks and gardens.

They can be found throughout the year, but are most active between spring and autumn. They feed on the blood of birds and mammals, including humans.

Some ticks carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, an infection that can spread to humans if bitten by infected ticks.

It is possible to reduce the risk of tick bites by following some simple advice:

  • When possible, stick to footpaths and avoid long grass when walking or cycling
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and trousers tucked into your socks when near tick-infested areas
  • Wearing light-coloured fabrics that may help you spot a tick on your clothes
  • Use insect repellent on any exposed skin
  • Check your skin and clothes for ticks at the end of the day, removing any you find as soon as possible
  • Regularly check your pets for ticks

If Lyme disease is left untreated, you could develop severe symptoms. Lyme disease is treatable if caught early, so it’s important to know the symptoms and look out for them.

Read full NHS advice on ticks and Lyme disease.


Livestock have been grazing the slopes of the chalk downland for centuries. They play a vital role in preserving the biodiversity of this habitat. 

If enjoying the National Park with your dog, please keep them on the lead at all times when passing through farmland or near livestock. Although perfectly used to people, livestock can become unpredictable if they are disturbed or feel threatened, especially during calving and lambing season in the spring. 

Groundnesting birds

Parts of the South Downs provide vital habitat for a number of groundnesting bird species.

If walking your dog, please keep them on the lead and stick to the paths to avoid disturbing the birds and young chicks. 

Also, please pick up after your dog and dispose of dog poo in a bin. 


There are a number of roads in the National Park, there are shared by cyclists and motorists, as well as walkers who may have to cross busy roads if following footpaths. 

Roads are a shared space and the highway code should be adhered to at all times. 

Car Parks

Unfortunately rural car parks are a target for thieves.

Please avoid leaving valuables in vehicles or on display. If you witness a break in, please report this to the police. 


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