A snapshot in time

This week has seen the launch of the State of the National Park report.  Published by the South Downs National Park Authority it is an attempt to record everything that contributes to what makes the South Downs special.  It could be the landscape beauty, the health of our local wildlife, or the strength of community spirit and enterprise.  All of these things and more work together to create and shape the South Downs that we know and love today.

The Park’s special qualities were defined by the various communities with an interest in the Downs earlier in the year.  This report is the next logical step in the process in attempting to capture the health and robustness of these special qualities.  The stage after this, which has already begun, is to work up a Management Plan which starts to tackle some of the problems or deficiencies identified by this report.

While the report has been published, in some senses it is far from complete.  Within it there are numerous data gaps and requests for more information.  However, this does not undermine its validity, more highlights the issues and difficulties in collecting and monitoring data over such a large area and on a wide range of topics.  In time, it will be necessary to fill these voids and it may be that this information has already been captured by someone.  However, there may be instances where the Park Authority will need to invest in data collection or analysis.

In the meantime, the current report is well worth a read and no doubt will be an invaluable tool as time progresses.

One thought on “A snapshot in time

  1. when public concern was mounting about increasing threats to the beautiful downland environment, particularly the impact of indiscriminate speculative housing development on the eastern Sussex Downs ( Peacehaven was a notorious example of this). In 1929, the Council for the Preservation of Rural England , led by campaigners including the geographer Vaughan Cornish , submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister urging the case for national parks, including a national park on part of the South Downs. However, when, towards the end of World War II , John Dower was asked to report on how a system of national parks in England and Wales might be established, his 1945 report, National Parks in England and Wales, did not identify the South Downs for national park status, but rather included it in a list of “other amenity areas”. Sir Arthur Hobhouse ‘s 1947 Report of the National Parks Committee took a different view, and he included the South Downs in his list of twelve areas recommended for designation as a national park, defined by John Dower as an “extensive area of beautiful and relatively wild country in which, for the nation’s benefit…the characteristic landscape beauty is strictly preserved”.

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