South Downs National Park
The Newest and Certainly Moat Popular
National parks come in all shapes and sizes. Most of these massive areas of preserved lands have been established for many decades, but there are still new national parks being established each year. The newest national park in England, South Downs National Park, is proof that the park does not have to be old to be enjoyed by many. This newly established national park has only been a part of the registry since 2011, but since that time, it has had more than 16 million visitors each year with that number on the rise. Here are a few reasons why so many visitors go to South Downs National Park each year. There are few national parks that offer history within the trees. It is likely that you have heard of the Sequoia in Sequoia National Park and understand that these trees are quite old and very large, but South Downs National Park has its own set of very old trees. The yew trees are round in Kingley Valley within the park and there is much speculation as to how old they really are. Some boast that the trees were first brought to the area by the Vikings of the 9th century while others claim that they are not quite that old. One fact that people do agree on is that the yew trees are among the oldest surviving living objects in England. They are spectacular pieces of history to view as you hike through South Downs National Park.
Come for the Animals
A national park would not be quite complete without the presence of animals that represent the area. South Downs National Park is home to a myriad of different animal species that will thrill and amaze the avid animal lover. Look for the many otters and brown trout in the streams and rivers that run through the park. While hiking through the trees be sure to watch for the barn owl, round headed rampion, and the skylark. If you are really quiet and out hiking at the right time, you may even get the opportunity to see the most beautiful of all creatures. Butterflies frequent the flower fields of the park, so planning a visit during spring will allow you to see these beautiful creatures by the hundreds. Be sure to respect the animal’s habitats and never allow children to chase them as this will cause them stress and make them act in a way that is unnatural. Safety is always a key ingredient at the park, so stay safe and watch the animals from a distance.
Even on the melancholiest of days, your spirits can often be lifted while looking at the world around you. There is nothing that shows this to be true like a view of the awe-inspiring landscapes of South Downs National Park. The most popular destination is the chalk cliffs. From this vantage point you can take photographs of the seascapes around you or hike down to get a shot of the cliffs themselves. There is never a bad picture when you take photos of the truly amazing landscapes found throughout the park and throughout the year, the views change, so be sure to come back during different seasons to have the greatest landscape photos around.
Quite Different Than Others
National parks are primarily about preservation of the nature and animas around, but part of that preservation within South Downs National Park involves the cultivation of the land. For centuries, South Downs has been known for rich agriculture and that tradition holds strong today with ancient vineyards still being maintained by local wineries today. The people of South Downs National Park have found a balance between taking foods from the land and giving back to ensure the livelihood of the animals within. This park is quite progressive in that respect and they hope to inspire other national parks to find that unique balance in their areas as well.
Things to Know
South Downs National Park is a little different from other national parks you may have visited, but one thing remains the same no matter how many national parks you visit and that is to follow the rules to the letter. Some people are set off by rules, but each and every one has its purpose. The rules are set by South Downs National Park rangers and the management of the park to ensure that it remains a preserved area. The main rule that you will find is to be sure to keep the park clean. That means to clean up thoroughly after yourself and pick up any trash left behind by anyone else. If we all work together, South Downs National Park can remain in pristine condition and be there for generations to come.
Discover the world-famous white cliffs at Seven Sisters, rolling green and gold hills, ancient woodland and lowland heaths or explore ‘picture perfect’ villages, traditional country pubs and flourishing vineyards.
Key areas of interest
- Walk, cycle or horse ride the length of the National Park on the 160km South Downs Way national trail
- Chalk grasslands and woodlands rich in wildflowers and butterflies and dramatic chalk cliff coastline
- Bustling market towns, hidden villages and historic estates
- Just over an hour by train from London and a short bus ride from Brighton, Portsmouth, Eastbourne and Winchester