Old Winchester Hill

The Fight for the South Downs

Out now, the unbelievable story of the South Downs Campaign’s twenty-year struggle to achieve National Park status. Campaign for National Parks Trustees, directors and officers were closely involved in the campaign from the very beginning.  

Indeed, all those who have a special affection for the glorious South Downs and enjoy and appreciate the area’s National Park status today will be totally absorbed by this extraordinary history.  

The campaign began with a meeting between seven individuals in 1990 whose aim was to achieve the greatest protection for the area – a National Park. From this modest beginning the South Downs Campaign grew to a body representing 159 national, regional and local community groups by the time the National Park was established in 2010.   

The initial chapter describes the special qualities of the South Downs and the Western Weald today and the evolution of its landscapes and communities over the centuries. The next two chapters describe earlier attempts to conserve the area, which began in the 1920’s when even Beachy Head was threatened by developers.  

The main thrust of the book is the story of the South Downs Campaign. Powerful forces opposed but dogged lobbying persuaded the newly elected Labour Government in 1997 to take a fresh look and the designation process began. A Public Inquiry, a change in legislation, an Appeal Court decision and a re-opened Inquiry that overturned the original findings, were all necessary before the National Park was confirmed in 2010. 

Note: Author Robin Crane chaired the South Downs Campaign from its founding until the National Park was finally designated. From the outset the campaign was run by a team of both volunteers and professionals. Campaign for National Parks, The Ramblers Association, Sussex Wildlife Trust and Sussex and Hampshire CPREs were the lead organisations. Margaret Paren, who took a prominent role in the last half of the Campaign, has edited this book. She chaired the South Downs National Park Authority for its first ten years 

Get your copy today

“The Fight for the South Downs” priced £14.99 is now available through your local bookshop and can be ordered postage free from  www.browndogbooks.uk.  It is also available from Amazon UK.