Publication of The Fight for the South Downs

, 23 April 2024
Publication of The Fight for the South Downs
View over Harting from Harting Down © Robin Crane

Robin Crane CBE is a founder member of Sussex Wildlife Trust and currently Vice President. His book 'The Fight for the South Downs' has just been published. 

Those who have a special affection for the glorious South Downs and enjoy and appreciate the area’s national park status today will be totally absorbed by this extraordinary history which began with the Sussex Wildlife Trust, under the chairmanship of Robin Crane, setting up a meeting between seven individuals in 1990 whose aim was to achieve the greatest protection for the area – a national park.

From this modest beginning The South Downs Campaign grew to a body representing 159 national, regional and local community groups by the time the National Park was established in 2010.

The initial chapter describes the special qualities of the South Downs and the Western Weald today and the evolution of its landscapes and communities over the centuries.

The next two chapters describe earlier attempts to conserve the area, which began in the 1920’s when even Beachy Head was threatened by developers. The campaign to create national parks evolved over many years. The South Downs was nominated to be in the second tranche of parks to be established following the 1949 National Parks Act but was rejected following a survey in 1957.

The main thrust of the book is the story of the South Downs Campaign. Strong forces opposed. Dogged lobbying persuaded the newly elected Labour Government in 1997 to take a fresh look and the designation process began. But a Public Inquiry, a change in legislation, an Appeal Court decision and a re-opened Inquiry that overturned the original findings, were all necessary before the National Park was confirmed in 2010.

Buy Fight for the South Downs here

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