South Downs National Park

Known as the ‘gateway to England’, this landscape of rolling hills, ancient woodland and picture perfect villages holds the secrets of thousands of years of settlement from prehistory to Caesar’s conquering forces.

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The park

Clues to the people who have lived in and shaped the South Downs can be found everywhere  from Bronze Age burial mounds to Iron Age hill forts, Roman villas, historic stately homes and imposing Norman castles.

Arundel Castle has been home to the Duke of Norfolk, the most senior peer in the realm for over 850 years, while the 1,000-year old Lewes Castle provides views over this historic market town and the chalk slopes that surround it.

The South Downs has captivated some of Britain’s greatest literary and artistic figures, from Jane Austen, to Rudyard Kipling to the Bloomsbury Group and Virginia Woolf, who said in her diaries “The Downs… too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness, if only they would look.”

Scientists have also been drawn to the area for its extraordinarily rich wildlife. The home of pioneering naturalist Gilbert White can still be visited in Selborne.

Heathrow 1 hour

160 kilometres

The length of the South Downs Way National Trail

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The English National Parks Experience Collection Brochure

This guide provides you with a source of information on the wide range of contractable experiences available in nine of England’s National Parks.

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The South Downs National Park Overview

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Sustainable Tourism Officer

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+44 (0)1730 814810