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.