South Downs National Park
The South Downs National Park covers an area of 1,600 sq km in southern England (807 sq km in West Sussex) and stretches for 140 km from Winchester in the West to Eastbourne in the East through the counties of Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex. Here you can walk, cycle or horse ride along the South Downs Way and enjoy stunning English countryside.
The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is the organisation responsible for promoting the purposes of the National Park and the interests of the people who live and work within it. It became fully operational on 1 April 2011.
There are 15 National Parks in the UK. Known as Britain’s Breathing Spaces, National Parks are areas of spectacular landscape that include mountains, meadows, moorlands, woods, coasts and wetlands. Mostly farmed landscapes supporting living, working communities, National Parks are areas of protected countryside that everyone can visit and enjoy.
As a National Park, the SDNPA has statutory purposes and socio-economic responsibilities as specified in the Environment Act of 1995.
1. To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area.
2. To promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Park by the public.
For more information see the SDNPA.
South Downs Way
The South Downs Way runs from Eastbourne to Winchester, some 100 miles. The South Downs Way spans the entire length of the South Downs Park and is the only National Trail that lies wholly within a national park. Washington village lies to the North and about 30 minutes walk from the top of the South Downs. However a signed alternative route for the South Downs Way, avoiding the crossing of the busy A24, passes through the village.
Washington parish includes Chanctonbury Ring, a well known landmark, on the South Downs. At 242m Chanctonbury is one of the highest points of the South Downs and the present ring of trees at its summit give it a distinctive feature. The name “Chanctonbury Ring” refers to the circular ditch and embankment built by Ancient Britons. Chanctonbury Ring is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest as an uncommon woodland type on a chalk escarpment, providing habitat for many species including the protected Great Crested Newt.