South Downs National Park celebrates successful year

Sunset on the South Downs at Ditchling Beacon. By Adam Barnes.
Sunset on the South Downs at Ditchling Beacon. By Adam Barnes.
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Supporting more children to benefit from outdoor learning, meeting targets to improve rare chalk grassland, recruiting and training an army of volunteer archaeologists, and making progress on the National Park Local Plan.

These are just some examples of successful partnership projects highlighted in the South Downs National Park Authority’s (SDNPA) annual review for 2014-15.

Margaret Paren, Chair of the SDNPA, said: “In the first year of our Partnership Management Plan for the National Park we’re now monitoring more than 34 key species across the South Downs and many more are benefiting from our work to improve their habitats. “We’ve been able to reach 73,900 children through the Our South Downs project helping teachers to use the National Park across the entire curriculum and we’ve supported more than 450 South Downs Volunteer Rangers to give almost 6,000 days of their time.

“For the coming year with the inclusion of our new Secrets of the High Woods volunteers we already have over 500 volunteers.

“We’re proud to work in partnership with a wide range of organisations, landowners, farmers, local businesses, residents and visitors – all committed to caring for the South Downs National Park.

“Our annual review once again shows how the National Park Authority is spearheading this work.”

In 2014-15 the SDNPA developed the Preferred Options for the first ever Local Plan to cover the whole area of the South Downs – from Winchester to Eastbourne.

It will be one of the first Local Plans in the country to take an ecosystems services approach – encouraging people to value the things that nature gives us for free such as drinking water and space to breathe.

The SDNPA will be consulting on these for eight weeks from September 2.

This year the SDNPA worked in partnership with Natural Partnerships CIC and Southern Co-Operative to develop SouthDownsFood.org, an interactive website helping local businesses connect with each other and promote their produce to visitors and locals alike.

Meanwhile the SDNPA’s Cycling Ambition project has now completed three new routes into the South Downs with a further seven underway and due for completion in the year ahead.

Read more about these and many more projects in the SDNPA Annual Review 2014-15. See https://www.southdowns.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/SDNPA-Annual-Review-2014-15.pdf

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