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Nowhere epitomises the “green and pleasant land” of William Blake’s England quite as well as the South Downs. Those who love the rural landscape of England like Fiyaz Mughal will know that, with its gentle rolling hills and vivid verdant foliage, the South Downs represent one of England’s greatest treasures.

For the traveller who takes the time to explore one of England’s loveliest corners, here are five of the most delightful and fascinating things to discover along the South Downs:


One of the best ways to experience the South Downs is by walking the South Downs Way. The South Downs Way is about 100 miles of paths that follow the course of the national park. Along your way you’ll pass through three different counties. Beginning in Hampshire’s Winchester, you’ll pass through West Sussex and end in East Sussex’s Eastbourne.

Along the way you’ll see pleasant views and ancient monuments, and maybe stop off for a drink in one of the many villages’ fine pubs.

The Stars

Thanks to its high elevation and relative isolation, the South Downs were recently awarded the status of International Dark Skies Reserve. This means that the lack of light pollution makes the South Downs ideal for stargazing at night.


The South Downs are rich with wildlife for those who know where to look. There are 39 species of butterfly and 23 species of dragonfly. You can also find many wild orchids. Above your head you might hear the clear song of a rare nightingale or the knocking of woodpeckers.

Perhaps most spectacular, although difficult to find, is the population of otters that have taken up residence in the many rivers of the South Downs.


This slow paced bucolic character doesn’t mean the South Downs are without excitement. On top of the Downs is one of the UK’s best and oldest flat racing courses. If you like fast cars racing at high speeds, visit the South Downs from the 28th of July to the 1st of August, when Glorious Goodwood holds a festival of racing.

White Cliffs

A trek across the South Downs will bring you to the white cliffs of England’s south coast. The Seven Sisters are the row of spectacular white cliffs that mark the end of your trek across the gorgeous and fascinating South Downs.