South Downs National Park

Find out more about the South Downs National Park Authority’s responsibilities

South Downs National Park Authority logo 

Over 40% of Brighton & Hove is in the national park - the park boundary can be seen on our map (PDF 4.25MB)

From 1 April 2011 the South Downs National Park Authority has been responsible for

  • Local Access Forum
  • open access land
  • planning

In the national park Brighton & Hove City Council continues to be responsible for

Breeze up to the Downs is a network of three bus services linking the city with popular countryside areas within the national park.

The South Downs National Park Authority has a selection of walking trails on the stunning South Downs around Brighton & Hove.

Guiding principles

hay stacks on the DownsThe South Downs National Park Authority has the following guiding principles on the role of the Authority, reflecting the views of partners and stakeholders of how it could most effectively add value to the efforts of existing organisations in the area:

  • Champion the South Downs National Park with inspiring, strategic leadership and priorities that carry wide support
  • Bring people together, acting as a coordinator for partners and community groups, to engage, inspire and achieve more for the South Downs through combined action
  • Influence policy making and the decisions at local, regional and national levels, acting as a voice for the South Downs National Park and a source of knowledge and expertise
  • Deliver flagship projects, drawing down external funding and filling the gaps that others cannot fill and are too important to be left
  • Engage directly with local residents, farmers, land owners, land managers and visitors to understand their priorities and to provide advice or support in helping achieve our shared aspirations for the South Downs
  • Encourage volunteering to support National Park purposes and help strengthen communities
  • Build effective partnerships to tackle the challenges facing the South Downs National Park, including climate change, demographic change and development pressures.


The council has always supported a national park for the South Downs and confirmed this in response to a government consultation early in 2002 along with recommendations for the proposed boundaries.

Downs view with postThe council has worked with the new National Park Authority, including Defra, South Downs Joint Committee and the other local authorities, to agree work functions such as planning and countryside management (eg rights of way).

The Sussex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was revoked to coincide with the national park coming into being, along with the South Downs Joint Committee (previously responsible for the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Further information