Green rolling pastures, wide open spaces, ancient woodlands, river valleys and dramatic coastline truly encompass the National Park’s ethos of being one of ‘Britain’s Breathing Spaces’. With over 3,300km of rights of way, the South Downs National Park offers a landscape as diverse as it is breath-taking. This is truly a place with something for everyone, all easily accessible.
Lots of you visit the South Downs National Park as it is a great place to walk your dog. There’s lots for them to explore including heathlands, forests, farmland and historical sites.
Responsible dog walkers are very welcome in the South Downs National Park. Taking responsibility for your dog is especially important in spring when young livestock are particularly vulnerable. The South Downs is also home to many ground-nesting birds, and any disturbance can stop a successful brood. If you see signs asking you to keep your dog on the lead, please do so.
4 KEY MESSAGES FROM THE PARK WHEN WALKING YOUR DOG
- Keep dogs on a lead near livestock
- Bag and bin your poo, any public bin will do
- Protect ground nesting birds. Stick to the paths, especially between 1 March – 15 September
- Do not enter military training areas when the red flags are flying
Walking the dog. Walking off lunch. Walking the 100 miles of the South Downs Way. Whatever your reasons for stepping foot on the South Downs, there’s a route that’s right for you. In fact there are more routes here than in any other National Park in the UK.
Old railway lines have been converted to trails such at the Centurion Way or Meon Valley Trail. Food routes connect country pubs and afternoon tea rooms. And the Serpent Trail winds for 64 miles through the gorse and heather-rich Wealden Greensand.
Enjoy a weekend walking between Polegate and Lewes, spending the night in the village of Alfriston, and you’ll encounter the full range of riches that make the Downs unique – Saxon burial mounds; the Long Man of Wilmington carved into the hillside; the unspoilt and undeveloped Cuckmere estuary; one of the oldest cricket grounds in the world; the smallest church in England; and the home of Bloomsbury writer Virginia Woolf.