The South Downs
The South Downs is a range of chalk hills that extends for about 260 square miles (670 km2) across the south-eastern coastal counties of England from the Itchen Valley of Hampshire in the west to Beachy Head, near Eastbourne, East Sussex, in the east. It is bounded on its northern side by a steep escarpment, from whose crest there are extensive views northwards across the Weald. The South Downs may be said to have three main component parts: the East Hampshire Downs, the Western Downs and the Eastern Downs, together with the river valleys that cut across them. The South Downs is characterised by rolling chalk downland with close-cropped turf and dry valleys, and is recognised as one of the most important chalk landscapes in England.
The South Downs National Park
The South Downs National Park forms a much larger area than the chalk range of the South Downs and includes large parts of the Weald.
Proposals to create a national park for the South Downs date back to the 1940s. However, it was not until 1999 that the idea received firm government support. After a public enquiry, the UK government announced its decision to make the South Downs a national park on 31 March 2009. The South Downs National Park finally came into operation on 1 April 2011. Within its boundary are included not only the South Downs proper but also part of the western Weald.
Two of the landmarks on the Downs are the Long Man of Wilmington, a chalk carved figure, and Clayton Windmills. There is also a war memorial, The Chattri, dedicated to Indian soldiers who died in the Brighton area, having been brought there for treatment after being injured fighting on the Western Front in the First World War.
Find Walking and Cycling Guided Trails in the South Downs
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