South Downs celebrates first year of special status

THE SOUTH Downs will celebrate its first year of enjoying National Park status on April 1.

To mark the achievement the council and National Trust are putting on talks from prominent members of the park communities to explain what the changes mean for the spectacular landscape.

The event, called National Park Start Up, is being held at the Birling Gap Hotel at 10.30am.

Although it has officially been a National Park for a year, the South Downs is yet to fully come under the organisation’s stewardship.

Come April 1 the Downs will feel the full conservation benefits which come with the status.

Geoffrey Mantle, of the Downland Forum which advises the council on how best to manage its 4,200 acre plot of land on the Downs, said, “It has been something people have been campaigning for 15 years.

“It means more supervision and protection, closer control of planning and more investment.”

Admission is £3 and free for National Trust members and includes coffee.

To book in advance call 423923.