What happened in the South Downs National Park last year

editorial image

BETTER woodland management, the reintroduction of water voles, the beginnings of a local plan for the park, and promoting sustainable travel are some of the projects highlighted in the South Downs National Park Authority’s (SDNPA) annual review for 2013-14.

Chairman of the park Margaret Paren said: “Our first partnership management plan for the national park, launched this January, set out a long-term vision and how it will be delivered over the next five years through more than 100 separate projects.

“This review gives an insight into the authority’s own progress to date, the work we are undertaking, and our commitment to delivering our ambitious vision for the nation’s newest national park.”

Through the South Downs forestry partnership, the amount of South Downs woodland in active management has increased by 14 per cent.

The partnership has also visited more than 40 woodland sites and mapped nearly 100 forestry supply chain businesses.

Work to improve access has progressed, with the campaign to promote sustainable transport reaching 5.5 million people.

Visitors and residents can now enjoy an extra 8.5km of cycle paths and, using the local sustainable transport fund, Sunday bus services are being increased.

Other work included resurfacing 1,575m of the South Downs Way at five places, replacing 46 signposts and repairing or replacing 24 gates.

Work is being carried out with more than 
48 per cent of schools in the park and 31 per cent within 5km of the boundary.

Meanwhile the time given by the South Downs volunteer ranger service to communities across the new national park increased by 700 working days from the previous year.