The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is responsible for keeping the South Downs National Park a special place. The Authority was established in 2010 and is a public body, funded by government, and run by a Board of 27 members.
The Government has provided two statutory purposes for National Parks in England. All public bodies and utility companies, when undertaking any activity which may have an impact on the designated area, have a duty to have regard to these purposes. Our first purpose is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area. Our second purpose is to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park by the public. We also have a specific duty to seek to foster the social and economic wellbeing of the local communities within the National Park in pursuit of our purposes.
From rolling hills to bustling market towns, the South Downs National Park’s landscapes cover 1,640km2 of breathtaking views and hidden gems. A rich tapestry of wildlife, landscapes, tranquillity and visitor attractions, weave together a story of people and place in harmony. Food and farming are an important part of the human story of the South Downs.
The South Downs National Park has been shaped by the people who have worked, lived and visited over centuries. Cultivated farmlands, managed forests and even the villages built into hillsides, and towns built on the coast, have all added to the rich landscape we enjoy today. We live and work in a proactive and positive partnership with this beautiful and poetic place, striving to ensure that our National Park’s intelligent, welcoming and often quirky personality remains unspoiled and accessible to all.
If you look from the top of the South Downs, your view will be filled with fields in almost every direction. The South Downs is a working land and 85% of our landscape is actively used farmland of one kind or another. There are cattle grazing, orchards, vineyards and fields of wheat. This is a place full of things to eat and drink and our produce is of vital importance to our story.
It is for this reason that the South Downs National Park Authority has worked in partnership with the Southern Cooperative, and with guidance of Natural Partnerships CIC, in the creation of South Downs Food. As a valuable resource for both residents and visitors alike to buy and taste our fine local produce we intend farmers, producers, local markets, independent retailers, and hospitality providers to feel the economic and sustainable benefits provided by showcasing the local produce of the South Downs.