Making the Most of CROW Open Access in the South Downs

The Countryside and Rights of Way CROW Act 2000 (CROW Act) gives a public right of access to open access land, including areas of ‘open country’ and registered common land.

Orchids, rare butterflies and peace and quiet abound on the areas of access land in the South Downs. Go for a walk and find them yourself, with the help of a new series of downloadable maps.

Many of the open access areas established in the South Downs are of little use to walkers, being small, fragmented, and sometimes completely cut off from adjacent rights of way and therefore inaccessible. Other areas are larger, offering much better opportunities for ‘through’ walkers. These opportunities are not always obvious from the Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps which, although showing all areas where open access is permitted, give no indication of access points either into or within the parcels of access land.

Volunteers from the Friends of the South Downs, in conjunction with the South Downs Local Access Forum and the South Downs Joint Committee carried out detailed surveys of ten of the more ‘useful’ access areas and prepared annotated versions of the 1:25,000 maps showing access points, and some of the most practicable and easily usable ‘through’ routes and for each map a recommended self-guided walk. The project has been grant-aided by the South Downs National Park Authority’s Sustainable Communities Fund and the Ramblers. Natural England have also supported the project.We also supported the project, and it has received backing from the National Park Authority.

Also included on the leaflets are notes on any special features which enhance the amenity of the chosen areas as well as details of how to get there by public transport. Use the magnifier within the PDF to look more closely at the map detail.

We believe it is important to increase the extent of access land in the South Downs, and the number of gaps, gates and stiles, and pathways, to enable everyone to enjoy the Downs to the full. Would you like to see access improved on a particular site? If so, please let the Society know.

You can download a copy of this map as a PDF HERE and then download the access maps from within your PDF reader.

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