The South Downs

The South Downs is an area of chalk downloads found on the eastern section of Hampshire, an extending on through Sussex, until they reach their end at the Beachy Head cliffs.

Due to their great aesthetic beauty, two distinct areas that are contained within the Downs four portions, they have been named Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and throughout the Downs there are multiple Sites of Scientific Interest.

For the most part the South Downs is not a populated region, but instead a natural feast to visit, and observe the plants, natural beauty, and wildlife.  There are a sprinkling of seaside towns on its Southern boundary that are lined up side by side along the cost.

Walkers enjoy taking trips to the South Downs due to the South Downs Way footpath, which reaches over a large portion of the area, and subsequent smaller footpaths, that link into the primary South Downs Way.  One of the most popular smaller footpaths is the Monarch’s Way which starts at Worchester, and continues across the South Downs until it ends in Shoreham.

The South Downs is split up by three gaps where rivers pass through, and throughout the entire area of the region there are also several dry valleys that make up its composition.

Outside of the natural wonders that are found in the South Downs, the area is also quite historical, with archaeological remains that have been dated as far back as the Neolithic period.  Up until the last century for those who do lived in the South Downs area, the main occupation was sheep rearing.

The region is actually part of the Wealdon dome which used to be a shallow sea until the sea dried up which has cleft behind many fossils and flint that line the mountains of the area.  Erosion has left behind a great deal of chalk which has created many winterbournes (seasonal rivers).

The South Downs are about 122km in length from west to east about 11km in width from the northern to southern borders.  It meets up with the North Downs at the Hampshire border at the Wessex Downs near the River Meon Valley.

On the eastern border of the South Downs you can see the Seven Sisters which are large undulated cliffs that are what is left of the dry valleys that were carved out slowly by erosion over time.

Butler Hill is another prominent part of the South Downs and is the highest point throughout the area measuring 270m in height making it one of England’s Marilyns (peaks over 150m).

Archaeological studies have revealed that the Downs were used and inhabited by people during the Neolithic times, Iron Age, and Bonze Age.  The area used to be covered by trees but about 2500 years ago, scientists estimate, the trees were cleared.

The South Downs have been romanticized in several authors’ works over time including, William Henry Hudson, Jane Austen, and Rudyard Kipling.