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In this penultimate chapter, a number of previously examined spatial issues are drawn together to consider first, how each provides an overlay to the geography of the Downland and then to debate how these issues can be fused to provide an integrated, rather than fragmentary, approach to conservation and tourism. This in turn opens a series of debates on the development and character of the land holding proposed in the previous chapter. The status of commons and the requirements for open countryside enables the earlier ideas of a land holding to be taken a stage further. Having considered the spatial designation of land area, through a series of overlays, the question of movement of people within the complexities of the land designations raises the whole question of transport and distribution of visitors. This chapter therefore summarises and consolidates much of the earlier debate.

In considering these issues, the wish is to ensure that the complex amalgam of management regimes over specific, often overlapping, areas and the transport and distribution networks linking such areas enhance rather than jeopardise the ideals, set out in the previous chapters, of recreational tourism through conservation. In this way, the aftermath of the leisure revolution, [1] for future generations, will avoid the inheritance of environmental destruction which was the aftermath of the industrial revolution.

In Chapters 2 and 3, 26 different management regimes were considered which have relevance to the Downland. This list is by no means static but seeks to summarise the principal measures/agencies operative at the time of this thesis. The 26 are summarised in Table 3:8. The origins of these and their application to specific land areas are historical in origin and have come about in a piecemeal manner, as need, opportunity, willingness and resources have become available. The 26 regimes provide the first series of overlays of the Downland.

The study areas of this thesis provide a further dissection of the landscape and three further overlays. In order to provide a framework within which conservation and tourism issues can be considered, Chapter 2 argued for a core study area comprising the Sussex Downs, later to be identified in Chapter 7, as the Downland "consumer product", and two peripheral zones, one north and one south, each providing distinct resources in tandem with the core area. The resources of these three zones are brought together with the Sussex Area Tourism Initiative proposed in Chapter 10.

Cutting across the above overlays is a further consideration. At the root of any land use and management regimes is the land ownership. Table 10:2 and Figure 10:1 identify the principal land owners within the core study area. From this data it is noted that 5.2 percent of the Downland is owned by the National Trust and a further 11.4 percent is in Local Authority hands. A further 5.7 percent is Forestry Enterprise with public access rendered uncertain in the long term.[2]  The bulk of the remaining land is privately owned, including 16.5 percent of the total as major estates. The proposals in the previous chapter suggest that some of this land could advantageously be amalgamated into a public land holding.

A characteristic of Downland tourism is the inextricable link with conservation and environment discussed in Chapter 11. This same chapter proposes a further series of overlays on the already complex geography of the Downland by the determination of five categories of visitor impact zoning: sanctuary zones, quiet/remote zones, compatible tourism zones, sustainable development zones, and external development zones. Chapter 11 also suggests ways in which the carrying capacity considerations of these zones can be managed.

Summarising the position, the Downland and its linked peripheral areas is overlain with a complex series of area designations each with identifiable management regimes. Such regimes reflect the detailed requirements of the environmental, social and economic demands and it is apparent that conflict exists between the demands on the landscape. This particularly applies to land owners who, in the private sector, have an agenda properly based on private goals rather than the public good. As a result, the aims of the land owners are often not in accord with the conservation and visitor objectives. This situation is discussed at length in Chapter 14 and a justification for securing a land holding is proposed which would ameliorate much of the dissonance.

In Chapter 13 however it is argued that Downland enterprise is a powerful and important economic generator, able to replace the declining agricultural industry of the Downs with conservation. The catalyst for converting conservation into economic benefit is recreational tourism. Many of the overlay considerations outlined earlier impose regimes and constraints that, arguably, have the tendency to rigidly transfix the landscape in an effort to prevent further environmental degradation. The landscape is the product of continual evolution and the questions that arise are what are the current demand needs and how will these be met in the future evolution of the Downland? There is now the opportunity available for further development of the Downland landscape, that in turn can be indirectly self funding through increased visitor presence. The development of a land holding, with inalienable status, starts to reflect the opportunity for sympathetic evolution of the landscape. How might such a public land holding be utilised to advantage therefore?

An important aspect of countryside recreation is access to open countryside with freedom to roam. This view is heavily endorsed by the CPRE which recognises the value of open countryside as a tourism asset.[3] On a local level the Society of Sussex Downsmen call for "substantial increases in grassland to which there is open public access on foot as well as generous access for riders and cyclists".[4] Such a view is compatible with the concept of open Downland as identified in the pilot visitor research, where the expectation of the visitor was to be free and unhindered,[5] and with the general findings of the Visitor Survey.[6] Such a view is also in accord with the traditional perception of the Downland where the sense of space is a vital part of the appeal.[7] Further support as to the importance and the under-provision of open countryside comes from the report of the SDCB Rural Panel. The report cites the provision of open countryside as a recommendation for the role of the SDCB.[8] This desire was also expressed in the ESCC Heritage Coast management plan published in 1993. Whilst note is made of the progress since 1976, it urges that momentum must be maintained at a time when the opportunities have seldom been more favorable.[9] Examples abound for the further establishment of open countryside especially at local level. Arun District Council is now arguing a 30 percent shortfall of open space in the area and Littlehampton and Rustington Wildlife Group has identified the need for a community woodland.[10]

In both of the case studies the value of open landscape is apparent.[11] On Dartmoor nearly 40 percent of the land area is common land which now has the general right to roam as a result of the 1985 Dartmoor Commons Act. The Malvern Hills are subject to a general freedom to roam provision as a result of the Acts controlling the Conservators. The Conservators manage 11 percent of the AONB and this area is that most utilised by the majority of visitors. By their respective means, both of the case study regions have secured a stock of inalienable, open access land.

On Dartmoor and in the Malverns, the origins of the present open access land stock lies in the historic commons. Dartmoor pioneered an Act to effect management and public access, the Malvern Hills Conservators were specifically established to prevent encroachment on the Hills and commons. Could a similar situation apply in Sussex?

Chapter 3:20 indicates that the Downland is not rich in commons and notes that Stamp, in the 1950s, observed that the traditional open spaces of the Downs were not commons with only a few exceptions. This view was subsequently endorsed by Hoskins and Stamp in the 1960s.[12] Long term loss of commons has exacerbated this situation and now only 408 hectares have open access, this represents only half a percentage point of the core study area. The traditional commons therefore do not provide the starting point for the provision of extended open countryside for the Downland.

Does land already in public ownership provide the potential for adequate open access countryside? Figure 10:1 indicates that 11.4 percent of the Downland is in Local Authority ownership. Over half of this is owned by Brighton and is used for a variety of purposes including agriculture. Open access is therefore limited to about half of the public authority land and the status is by no means inalienable. In addition the decision by Brighton to dispose of some of their land holding may mean that much of this land comes out of public ownership.

Popular perception of National Parks generally is that freedom to roam is an important aspect of their appeal although not necessarily a right. Inspection of the geography of National Parks in the UK reveals that there is an absence of land with this  national designation of landscape protection within the south east of England. The popularity and need for countryside recreation is well established and the south east is no exception. In the case of the Sussex Downs it is apparent that:

1) extensive demand for countryside recreation exists,

2) the provision of freedom to roam open grassland is a well documented recreational need, [13] which is compatible with ideals of Downland conservation [14] and restoration,[15]

3) the provision of such facilities in the case study areas has been successful, both from the visitor and conservation perspectives, and

4) such provision should be inalienable if the highest degree of protection is to be afforded.

The establishment of the public land holding therefore suggests the means of furthering this aim. The justification, in terms of land availability, for establishing the land holding was discussed in the previous chapter together with the status of inalienable tenure. Financial resources are directed to the acquisition of land as part of a process enabling farmers to relocate to areas of intensive agriculture, in order that they can continue to use their expertise in a modern farming environment. The four points above argue the demand rationale. The difficulty now arises in quantifying what is an appropriate level of land holding acquisition leading to inalienable, open access countryside. It was suggested in 1950 by Browning [16] that 10 percent of the Downland should be in protected ownership. The Dartmoor case study experience suggests that 40 percent is a realistic proportion of open access land. The Malverns, by contrast, face excessive use of open access land leading to adverse visitor impacts including erosion, policing needs and general environmental deterioration.[17] It is apparent that the principal open space, which is essentially the land controlled by the Conservators, representing 11 percent of the AONB, is inadequate for coping with recreational demand. To determine what target area of open space is right for a region depends on a wide range of topographical and catchment zone considerations.  An acquisition programme over a period of years would enable the most appropriate percentage of open space to be determined by experience.

If it is assumed, subject to the afore-mentioned acquisition programme findings, that 40 percent of the total land area is a realistic long term target for Downland ownership to be relocated in an inalienable land holding, this amounts to 30,520 hectares. From this can be deducted the 3,966 hectares already owned by the National Trust and 8,662 hectares in public authority ownership, assuming that all this is designated inalienable open space. This leaves a deficit of 17,892 hectares. It is now possible to quantify the financial implications. At an estimated purchase value of UK pounds 5,000 per hectare, this suggests a sum of UK pounds 90 million to acquire such land. Such a one-off programme would ensure a permanent amenity, one option being to offset the costs against the UK pounds 1.5 billion that set aside costs per annum.[18] A five or ten year acquisition programme would spread such costs and ease the transition of land use. Given a direct tax revenue from Downland recreational expenditure of UK pounds 24 million p.a.[19], in 4 years this sum would be recouped at current visitor levels, as the second option for recovering the costs. On a 5 or 10 year rolling programme of acquisition, visitor numbers and revenue would increase, reducing the pay back period. At the same time such a rolling programme would facilitate the redetermination of open space targets based on experience.

A response from land agents on such a proposal raises the matter of the impact of a major capital injection to acquire land on market prices, both on the Downland and in any agricultural region where ex-Downland farmers may relocate.[20] An important element in ensuring that market prices are not destabilised in the short term, is the acquisition over a prolonged period of time, possibly 5 or 10 years. Any buoyancy in prices would be offset by the continuing downward pressure on agricultural land prices as a result of declining farm incomes. In addition it must also be recognised that the acquisition programme would be based on voluntary sale, not all land would be sought or needed and the programme would be extended or reduced as time progressed. Whilst many farmers would not welcome the opportunity of realising land assets, continuing downward trends in agricultural subsidies will not only reduce the value of land stock in the future but will render more agricultural businesses as no longer commercially viable. The need for such mechanisms to remove land from active farming, particularly the lower grades of land, with the opportunity of re-establishing damaged landscapes is now heavily endorsed by MAFF.[21] Delay, while land prices perhaps fluctuate in the short term, often as a result of changing grant aid provision, [22] may well result in the sale opportunity being lost.

The concentration of land so being taken out of regular agriculture on the Downland would also result in an area about the size of West Sussex being otherwise free of set-aside as well as the saving of UK pounds 5.7 millions [23] p.a. in subsidy costs per annum on set-aside alone.

A land acquisition programme of this type would result in much of the Downland being transformed into an inalienable, conserved amenity with unfenced, public open access, depending on the zoning considerations. The public's perception would be of open "common land" with freedom to roam through sheep-grazed pastures, recapturing the landscape noted by Stamp et al in earlier years. An important aspect of the management would be that these areas do not become a second generation country park but that they are essentially a wilderness resource as detailed in the Countryside Commission publication Management Schemes for Commons. This document sees wilderness as an appropriate management approach for commons as opposed to a sculptured park land.[24] Such a landscape would need to be maintained and the restoration of the traditional sheep pastures and flocks would provide a low level of income from the landscape, free of the usual constraints of commercial agriculture. Recognising the special role grazing has to play in amenity land conservation, special provision under the CAP for sheep quotas would be established as a specific proportion of the overall sheep apportionment. Land management would be the "agriculteur nouveau" of Chapter 13. Denman, Roberts and Smith, in the 1960s proposed detailed management schedules for Downland and grass heaths, citing Harting Downs as an example. The proposals are based on information collected in conjunction with the national survey of commons and the Commons Registration Act 1965 and are applicable to today's circumstances with little modification.[25]

The target scenario would be one where the ownership body, possibly a modified SDCB, would already be meeting many of the costs of maintenance as a result of its regular countryside duties. Additional costs, as a result of open ranging, are difficult to estimate, if countryside maintenance costs already incurred are excluded. In the target scenario these additional costs would be met by income from leasing grazing concessions. The proposed five year acquisition programme would enable this hypothesis to be tested in the field and budgetary adjustments made accordingly.

The application of such a public land holding would enable the further protection and development of one of the Downland's great under utilised resources - archaeology. This is an example of an integrated landscape policy opening up new opportunities. Chapter 1 identified the Downland as a unique reservoir of pre-Saxon archaeological heritage and 3 of the 26 regimes identified in Table 3:8 directly relate to archaeological protection. The land archaeology is supplemented by the marine archaeology.[25] The Sussex Archaeological Society Conference at Sussex University on the 16 October 1993 raised a number of pertinent issues. Mark Taylor, WSCC Archaeologist noted that the plough was one of the most destructive forces for archaeology. In many instances, deep ploughing, as part of the improved technology of farming, had enabled Downland high pasture to be converted to arable production in recent years. The reservoir of archaeology, preserved for centuries by grassland cover had undergone major damage and destruction, the extent of which was impossible to ascertain as new discoveries are frequently occurring on the Downland. Grassland cover removes this threat both by preventing soil erosion and mechanical disturbance. The reinstatement of extensive open range sheep grazing, as part of an open access land holding policy thus has a considerable benefit for archaeology. This notion was further endorsed by Alex Tait, ESCC Ecologist who added that the ecology benefitted considerably from this approach also.

Traditionally archaeology has been left to the experts and the public at large have opted for heritage as within their domain, a view expressed in Hunter and Ralston.[27] As a result heritage enjoys a high regard by the public and is seen as something well worth preserving. It can be argued that archaeologists have failed to engender this degree of interest in the public at large and archaeology has suffered as a result. Land management techniques often conveniently choose to ignore the archaeology, as indicated by the deep ploughing of the high Down. The success of the heritage industry has had a profound effect on archaeology. Archaeologists are now starting to realise their marketing opportunity; tourism experiences can be a great enabler, both by marshalling public support and by generating revenue. Conservationists and ecologists similarly are able to promote their interests through public participation.  The steadily improving Sites and Monuments Records are creating a greater awareness of the site potential for areas such as the Downland and this in turn enables the information to be fed into planning and management systems.[28] Other uses for the data bases include conservation and education. This in turn highlights one of the benefits of interpretation as set out in Chapter 11:4 "Interpretation and Education".

Pearson proposes three guiding rules for encompassing the public at large in archaeology: 1) the past should not be mystified, 2) it must not be trivialised or cheapened and 3) every interpretation must be open to reinterpretation.[29] The sense of discovery was an important element of the Downland experience identified in the pilot attitudinal research in Chapter 6; Part 1. Archaeology has the potential to convey this sense of wonder, if presented in consumer friendly terms. Insight into todays happening can be secured from the past and vice verse; the past and the present thus become interactive.

It can be seen that the incorporation of archaeology into the strategic planning of a land holding management scheme holds benefits for the archaeologist, the ecologist, the conservationist and the public at large.[30] By adopting sympathetic management policies, unhindered by the immediate profit motive, the land holding, aided by the zoning policies, renders additional protection. In this way the unity of the landscape is recognised and new conservation and recreational opportunities are afforded. The establishment of a substantial, inalienable, open grazed land holding on the Sussex Downs would form an additional, unifying, overlay to the already complex organisation of Downland surface geography.

Returning to the considerations of the spatial designation of land area through a series of overlays, the question of movement of people within the complexities of the land designations, raises the whole question of transport and distribution of people.

Gunn provides an up to date insight into the role of transport. "Passenger transportation is a vital component of a tourism system." [31] If tourism is to be the engine for conservation it must be recognised that fundamental to tourism is travel. The provision of transport as a primary service, must be integrated into overall planning. Movement of people must take place not only within the Downland but also between the Downland and the catchment areas. In Chapter 4 the role of the Channel Tunnel and its related road networks has been cited as potentially disproportionately benefitting the south east. The late 20th century dependance on road transport becomes the focus of the macro economic debate [32] and this chapter now seeks means of managing the outcome.

In an evaluation of press cuttings on issues relating to the Downland, taken from local and national publications, no issue currently raises so much controversy as the destruction of the environment through road building programmes. From the Visitor Survey, it is known that in excess of 80 percent of Downland tourists use motor vehicles to visit the Downs. Wedded as we are to the convenience and mobility offered by the automobile and commercial road haulage, we continue to raise mayhem when the inevitable results of our dependance on the road vehicle leads to an ever extending road system. Such inconsistency in individual attitudes reflects the fact that opinion is contextural. Conventional research of the countryside is in danger of misunderstanding recreational needs, if attitudes are not seen in the context of inherent conflicts.[33] The policy maker is the final arbiter and accommodating both diametrically opposed views inevitably solicits criticism.

There are two general issues under consideration, accessibility and mobility.[34] The former applies to the location and the latter to the individual or in the case of commercial carrying, the goods. This thesis is not the forum for a detailed general debate on transport policy and management nationally, instead it must restrict the debate to issues immediately associated with Downland conservation and tourism.

Phillips and Williams debate the accessibility factor. Rural areas are often considered inaccessible due to poor transport provision.[35] Inaccessibility promotes deprivation and this is an issue already raised in the context of the SDCB Rural Panel's report in Chapter 13. The essence of inaccessibility on the Downland is the quality of route systems.

In the consideration of mobility, the factors which affect the individual are time, cost and effort.[36] The high incidence of car ownership cited in the Rural Panel report of residents on the Downland and the high incidence of car utilisation identified in the Visitor Survey confirm that the Downland users are highly mobile. Such mobility is not only linked to motor transport, the enabling factors of time, cost and effort equally apply to alternative forms of transport which are readily available including air, bicycle, foot and rail. The competitiveness of road transport in providing the best mix of the enabling factors ensures that the motor vehicle is resorted to in most instances.

Movement of people on the Downland can therefore be influenced by the manipulation of one or more of the following factors:

       1) the quality of the route
       2) the time available
       3) the costs involved
       4) the effort

Each of these factors is weighed up against the utility, real or perceived, in the accomplishment of the trip, whether it be recreational or essential for other purposes. The four factors are also the determinate of the type of transport selected, for example if time is freely available, if costs are sought to be minimised, if a conveyance can easily be secured and a bridleway is ideally located, an individual may select the bicycle as the ideal means of moving between two Downland villages. Non availability of a bicycle may result in walking being the next option, but if the weather is inclement the car may be resorted to as the most convenient, sacrificing cost considerations in the process.

Any manipulation of the enabling factors relating to transport must be deliberated in the context of further issues however. Transport has to be seen as an engine of geographic change. "The geographical pattern of transport networks can often be correlated with the geographical pattern of other activities." [37]  (eg. urban growth, development of manufacturing, etc.) Two qualifications are necessary in considering this hypothesis however:

1) the problem of circular causation; transport provision leads to economic growth but similarly economic growth demands improved transport.

2) transport induced affects may be hard to distinguish from other concurrent causes.

The location of the Downs, inland from the coastal strip and orientated east-west in a belt between 5 and 15 kilometres wide and some 70 kilometres in length, is a deterministic factor in the nature of the traffic that it has to accommodate. Through traffic from the north and vice versa, is an essential lifeline to the busy coastal resorts to the south. In addition, east-west through traffic is an important aspect of the communications of the southern resorts as well as providing access to and from the Channel ports and Tunnel and the south west. The deficiencies, in Sussex, in accommodating this traffic are highlighted in Chapter 4 under Mobility and Access. In particular the point is made that the absence of high quality routes is detrimental to all aspects of economic development including recreational tourism.

The dilemma is that such strategic transport routes inevitably cut through the Downland with consequential environmental degradation. In particular the east-west A27 Trunk route is precipitating a corridor of pollution along the length of the Downland, as well as promoting further urbanisation, as the developers earmark new parcels of land, isolated by tarmac from the bulk of the Downland. Road building on such a scale brings economic benefits and new visitors to the Downland as travel becomes faster and easier. It also detracts from the core tourist proposition by degrading the environment. A damage limitation exercise is all that appears practical at this stage, as a consequence of seeking a growth economy. In the future however an inalienable land holding would provide a considerable barrier to the further decimation of the valuable Downland. The National Trust is about to petition parliament, using its inalienable status, to prevent new road schemes, in particular the Golden Cap Estate in Dorset, part of an AONB, where the threatened Morecombelake by pass is planned as part of the east west strategic coastal route.[38] Dartmoor, with its National Park status and the Malvern Hills as an AONB, excluding the Conservators lands, are denied such action although it would be welcomed in the light of road upgrading proposals now being revealed in protected areas. Dartmoor at present suffers the depredation of the Okehampton Bypass which has obliterated a medieval deer park.[39] Inalienable land-ownership is the strongest counter force, as argued earlier in Chapter 14.

Of particular interest in the context of this chapter is the movement of people within the Downland. The Visitor Study has shown that while the car is the post popular form of travel to the Downland, walking is a major means of movement across the Downland for recreational purposes. In addition numerous other means of conveyance play a role in the visitor experience, these include horse riding, bicycling and more recently the highly visible flying.

The spatial scenario that has been constructed is one of people interacting between the core and peripheral study areas for tourism and recreational purposes, with the core area and its environs zoned to reflect different levels of necessary protection and therefore different potential carrying capacities.[40] Interspersed within the core area are a variety of features such as villages and high appeal tourist spots typified by Ditchling Beacon and Goodwood. The zoning of these features is in accord with the overall zoning policies. A village may therefore be zoned 4 (sustainable development) whereas an important SSSI may be zone 1 (sanctuary).

Interacting with the zoning constraints are a network of routes. These are invariably roads, bridleways, footpaths and in certain instances freedom to roam landscape. The extent of bridleways, footpaths and byways is identified in Chapter 3.19. Many of these routes are historically based although development of specific routes has taken place over time, for example the South Downs Way where a new footbridge over the Arun has enhanced the walkers experience, compared with the former route.[41]

How might this combination of zones and routes be orchestrated to maximise the conservation ideals, and therefore the visitor appeal, of the Downland? The National Parks have considered that the appropriate way forward is to seek powers to regulate traffic movement in any forthcoming National Parks legislation.[42]

Any management tools that are available however are necessarily based on the 4 movement factors outlined earlier in this chapter; 1) the quality of the route, 2) the time available, 3) the costs involved, and 4) the effort. From a planning point of view, the quality of the route suggests a hierarchic network of routes of varying type that deteriorate in quality and availability in the locality of the more sensitive zones. At the top of the scale there are the main trunk routes, both rail and road that feed people in and out and through the Downland. From these visitors disperse along secondary routes to key locations which act as entry points to the Downland experience. The beginnings of such a hierarchy can be seen in the data presented on existing routes and footpaths.[43]

The entry points serve a number of purposes. They provide opportunity to change the mode of conveyance, possibly from car to walking. They also provide locations for Downland interpretation and heritage centres, the importance of which was identified in Chapter 11.4. Examples of where such entry points may be developed are at Seaford, where there is a rail head, ample commercial infrastructure for tourism including restaurants and hotels, east west road communication, Newhaven Docks giving access to and from mainland Europe and alternative leisure facilities such as the beach.

From the entry point a series of minor roads, footpaths and other local routes fan out to give access to the Downland and to specific secondary locations on the Downland; in the case of Seaford, Cuckmere Valley may well be a desirable objective for a visitor. In turn, from these secondary locations, minor routes give access to the heartland of the Downland.

The entry points would perform an important role in setting the agenda for a Downland visit and such services as bicycle hire should be located in such "just off the Downland" locations. Interpretive walks, trails and general provisions such as food and maps would be secured from such centres. Already route packs for cyclists are available but do they reflect an overall route strategy?[44]  East and West Sussex County Councils actively support a walks and rides programme but again are these part of a route strategy?[45]  The ESCC "Trails by Rail" scheme seeks to integrate different forms of public transport to provide a recreational experience.[46]  The importance of integrating such individual initiatives can be shown in the experience of Wainwright in the Peak National Park. These famous walker's guides have caused a concentration of erosion. In spite of approaches by the Park Authority, Alfred Wainwright had been reluctant to alter his guides although it was becoming obvious that overuse was obliterating many paths.[47] During the final stages in preparing this thesis it was encouraging to note the publication of the East Sussex County Council Access to the Countryside and RoW Strategy. This document endorses the recognition of the role of networks of recreational routes, particularly objective 3, which encapsulates proposals included in this chapter: "To provide a network of higher quality recreational routes, open access land and water which give ready access from towns and villages, link with points of interest and are coordinated with facilities such as transport links and accommodation".[48]

The idea of perimeter "service" areas for the Downland is a practice well developed in American National Parks. Often food cannot be secured in the Park and where specific activities, such as camping, require permits, these can be arranged from service locations, which also provide general ranger support.[49] More recently the Great North Forest has had its Forest Plan approved by the Secretary of State and this includes gateway locations designed to "focus access to the countryside and act as centres for the provision of more intensive recreational activities".[50]

The question of rural service transport can also be addressed within the contest of the entry points to the Downland. The Rural Panel of the SDCB sees three issues to be addressed.[51]

 "1) Relating tourist and recreational transport to local needs.

 2) Encouraging local community involvement in providing rural transport.

 3) Promoting an integrated approach in the Sussex Downs."

Any recreation-based tourism public transport would necessarily need to take cognisance of the gateway locations. Integrating this with local needs provides a link service to village and secondary sites, thereby meeting recreational and domestic needs, yet within the zoning and transport strategic considerations. Whilst it has to be accepted that public transport in the foreseeable future will not replace private transport, it has been proven, by such schemes as "park and ride" in Oxford, that public transport has a role to play in reducing vehicular impact in the special area. The recent findings of the SDCB Public Transport Panel[52] have enabled the role of public transport to be considered in greater depth, albeit out of the context of the complexity of proposals contained in this thesis. Under "key tasks", the panel recommends a detailed exploration of current service levels as well as investigation into user needs, both residents and visitors. This then leads to the identification of service providers and the establishment of the appropriate marketing strategy to provide such services. The panel particularly recognises the possibility of a variety of public transport facilities.  The integration of the range of conclusions emerging from this thesis adds further dimensions to the debate and ultimate findings, particularly related to tourism. Hopefully the SDCB will be able to continue with this particular enquiry by initiating the necessary further research programme, possibly in tandem with future management plan preparation.

With the possibility of a further research programme, a number of further considerations are worthy of note in the long term development of routes into the Downland.

First, it is essential that the Downland is seen as a special place, not just any outdoor recreation spot. This not only enhances the recreational experience, it also induces a different behaviour pattern. Part of this feeling can be engendered by decommissioning much of the accoutrements of modern traffic management and visitor facilities. On the secondary lanes, the removal of the clutter of modern road signs and road markings, together with a general 25 mph speed limit, announced only at the entry point or cattle grid, indicates to the visitor that this is a special environment. Cattle grids particularly perform a number of important roles whilst remaining environmentally friendly. They contain animals, particularly open range sheep, to allotted areas, they calm traffic without the resentment or vehicle damage associated with sleeping policemen and they indicate access or exit to a special area. The gateway effect is enhanced. Heavy vehicles would be severely restricted, a theme promoted in the Heritage Coast Management Plan.[53] This has the benefit of reintegrating the minor roads back into the rural environment, a problem identified by the Countryside Commission in 1992 where roads are seen as a linear thread of urbanisation through the countryside.[54] At secondary locations on the Downland, visitor facilities can be minimised, no waste bins, lamp posts, signposts or parking ticket machines, all of which disfigure the essentially conserved landscape and despoil the true Downland experience. Twenty percent of the users of Ditchling Beacon car park on the Downland merely stop off for an ice cream, a use which could be reassigned to a more appropriate location.[55] For those who seek guidance and help in their use of the Downland, this can be sought in the zone 4 (sustainable development) locations or at the entry point centres, supported with appropriate literature.

Second, the Downland is essentially a conserved environment appealing to specific interest groups. Interest groups outside of those targeted are not catered for and the arrangement of facilities and routes will need to reflect this. For example those using the Downs as a scenic through route need to be directed on to the through routes rather than the secondary lanes. This can be done by closing secondary lanes as vehicular through routes. Much of the traffic congestion at Beachy Head would be reduced if this was carried out.[56] In extreme circumstances, tolls could be introduced to reduce peak use traffic, a consideration now being debated by the Peak District National Park.[57] Restricted banning of traffic also has merits in appropriate circumstances, a practice pioneered in the Goyt Valley by the Peak Park Authority in 1970 and still operational.[58]

Third, the strategic siting of major and secondary car parks is paramount in restricting visitor numbers. Car parking spaces have a direct relationship to visitor numbers, a skill which has been refined by the Dartmoor National Park Authority as discussed in the case study.

Fourth, the continuing progress being made in establishing the rights of way networks, through the County Councils and the SDCB, is an essential part of accessing the Downland. This is in line with the policy document published by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, The Royal Town Planning Institute, The County Planning Officers Society and The District Planning Officers Society which recognises the relationship between conserving and enjoying the countryside.[59]  The SDCB undertakes to maintain 1169 miles of RoW through the AONB.[60] Chris Hare, as RoW sub committee chairman for WSCC, is leading a concerted campaign to re-establish the footpath network in West Sussex in a manner sympathetic with farming constraints. West Sussex is acknowledged to have one of the best networks in the country.[61] Integration of public transport with footpath networks enables linear walks to be made rather than having to return to the starting point, thereby enhancing the most popular of visitor recreations.

What starts to emerge is a future vision of the Downland. An area which has suffered the intrusion of urban development, major through routes, agricultural despoliation and inappropriate tourism development in the past, takes on the mantle of a rejuvenated area of high conservation with recreational tourism controlled and orchestrated to particular user groups. The catalyst for this is the complex zoning of the landscape, a mammoth task in itself, fed by a network of graduated routes aimed at distributing the visitor in a controlled and calculated manner.

The rejuvenation would bring with it not only a reinstatement of the traditional Downland landscape, but opportunities to develop new attributes, sympathetic with the appropriate users, including archaeology and ecology. The move to re-establish the wilderness landscape also develops the sense of open spaces and freedom so readily associated with the Downland. Practical and spiritual values would be re-established, both important elements of the Downland, as we are reminded by authors such as Carr-Gomm, "as I walked the old trackways of Sussex, I discovered that the actual events of the physical walk that I took became inextricably linked to the other events of my life", an experience gained from listening to the ancestral voices of the landscape.[62]

The robustness of the measures proposed, if implemented, would provide a new confidence in the Sussex Downs as an area of great environmental importance, a confidence that has been lost this century. Such a confidence would enable tourism issues to be debated in a climate of balanced needs versus impacts rather than a defensive stand, over-exaggerated because of the present day lack of confidence in what are purported to be conservation measures.


[1] An expression used to summarise the explosion of leisure see Gunn C A. 1994, Tourism Planning, 3rd. ed. Taylor and Francis, London, p3.

[2] Lean G. 1994, "Forestry Sell-Off Facing the Chop", Independent on Sunday, 13 Feb. p8.

[3] CPRE, 1992, TOURISM, draft Planning Policy Guidlines, May, see 5.8.

[4] Perkins B. 1994, "The Future of the South Downs", The Downsman, Issue 108, p4.

[5] See Chapter 6: Part 2 "Activity".

[6] See Chapters 6 & 7.

[7] See Chapter 7.

[8] Cherrett T. (Sussex Rural Community Council) et al, 1994, Rural Community Needs, unpublished report prepared by the SDCB Rural Development Panel, Jan. see 4.39.

[9] County Planning Officer, ESCC & SDCB Officer, 1993, Draft Sussex Heritage Coast Managment Plan, see 3.4.3 and 4.3.15.

[10] Knight J. 1994, "Woodland Plan is Drawn Up for Institute Site", West Sussex Gazette, 23 June.

[11] See Chapters 8 & 9.

[12] Hoskins W G. Stamp L D. 1963, The Common Lands of England and Wales, 1964 reprint, Collins, London.

[13] See earlier paragraphs in Chapter 15.

[14] Conservation is debated further later in Chapter 15.

[15] See Chapter 11 particularly.

[16] See Chapter 14; Browning N. 1950, National Parks and Access to the Countryside, Thames Bank Publishing, London, p32.

[17] Based on various personal communications plus field experience and personal communication with the Golden Valley voluntary warden.

[18] Consumers in Europe Group, 1994, Hornsby M. "Each Family Pays UK pounds 1,000 To Fund Euro Farms",in "A Report", The Times, 1 July, p9; ITN, 1994, "Set Aside", special feature, 11 Aug.

[19] See Chapter 13.

[20] The Goodwood Estate et al, summer 1994, personal communication.

[21] MAFF Land Use Planning Unit, 1994, Agriculture and the Rural Economy, Sussex Downs AONB Management Plan, Reading, August, 3.5 & 3.10.

[22] P Tiplady, 1994, personal communication.

[23] This assumes 17,892 ha. of land formerly on set-aside at a cost of UK pounds 316 p.a per ha. see Ch 13. taken out of agriculture.

[24] Countryside Commission, 1985, Management Schemes for Commons, CCP 197, see 10.10.

[25] Denman D R. Roberts R A. & Smith H J F. 1967, Commons and Village Greens, Leonard Hill, London, p65-74.

[26] See Chapter 3:15.

[27] Hunter J and Ralston I. 1993, Archaeological Resource Management in the UK, Alan Sutton, Glos. see Fowler P - p3.

[28] Hunter J and Ralston I. 1993, see Fraser D - p24.

[29] Hunter J and Ralston I. 1993, see Pearson M P. - p225.

[30] Hunter J and Ralston I. 1993, see Macinnes L - p255.

[31] Gunn C A. 1994, Tourism Planning, 3rd ed. Taylor & Francis, London, p69.

[32] See Chapter 4, "Roads".

[33] Centre for the Study of Urban Change, Lancaster University, 1994, "New Approaches Concerning Public Attitudes to the Countryside: Report on Research Study, CPRE, background paper in Leisure Landscapes, 8:41.

[34] Johnson R J.1989, Human Geography, 2nd ed. Blackwell, Oxford, p498/9.

[35] Phillips D and Williams A. 1985, Rural Britain, A Social Geography, Blackwell, Oxford, ch.6.

[36] Phillips D and Williams A. 1985, ch.6.

[37] Johnson R J, Gregory D, Smith D M. 1994, Human Geography, Dictionary of, 3nd ed. Blackwell, Oxford, p634.

[38] Brown P. 1994, "National Trust to Fight New Roads", The Guardian, 12 April.

[39] Cunningham J. 1993, "Bulldozing the Roads", Viewpoint,  Friends of National Parks, p16.

[40] see Chapter 11.

[41] Society of Sussex Downsmen, 1994, The Downsman, issue 105, winter, p4; West Sussex Gazette, 1993, "Bridge for Bridleway", 24 June.

[42] Friends of National Parks, 1993, "Give Parks Traffic Powers", National Parks Today, ed.36.

[43] See Chapter 3,19.

[44] West Sussex Gazette, 1993,"Enjoy the Downs with Route Packs", 12 Aug.

[45] See Chapter 5 [5].

[46] Soc. of Sussex Downsmen, 1994, "Take the Train to the Countryside", The Downsman, Issue 107, Summer, p7.

[47] Wright P. 1994, "Keeping the Hills Alive", Roland Smith of the Park Authority quoted in an editorial in The Guardian, 19 Aug.

[48] ESCC, 1994, Access to the Countryside and Rights of Way Strategy, June, 2a, 3, 3a, 3b, 8.

[49] National Park Foundation, 1992-3 ed. America's National Parks, Official guide, Washinton.

[50] Countryside Recreation Network, 1993, "Sport and Recreation in Community Forests and the National Forest", Countryside Recreation, No.3, Oct. p2.

[51] Cherrett T. (Sussex Rural Community Council) et al, 1994, Rural Community Needs, a report prepared by the SDCB Rural Development Panel, Jan. 2.27.

[52] Sussex Downs Conservation Board, Transport Panel, 1994, Public Transport Panel Report, draft, 31 Aug.

[53] ESCC Heritage Coast Mangement Scheme, 1993, a report to the County Planning Officer and Sussex Downs Officer, see 4.3.7.

[54] Countryside Commission, 1992, Trends in Transport in the Countryside, CCP 382, prepared by the Transport Studies Unit at University of Oxford, see p7.

[55] Based on informal count during the fieldwork for the Visitor Study.

[56] ESCC Heritage Coast Mangement Scheme, 1993, a report to the County Planning Officer and Sussex Downs Officer, see 4.3.6.

[57] Ward D. 1993, "Car Tolls Mooted where Peak Time Lasts All Day", The Guardian, 17 Aug., p5.

[58] Broads Authority, 1993, "Parks Go Boldly on Traffic Management", Report of the 1993 National Parks Conference, see  p2.

[59] Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, The Royal Town Planning Institute, The County Planning Officers Society and The District Planning Officers Society, 1993, Tommorrows Countryside, May, see 30-33.
[60] Tiplady P. 1994, "Downland Matters", the 1994 Bately Lecture, The Downsman, Society of Sussex Downsmen, Spring Issue 106, p6.

[61] Stanley A. 1994, "County Crackdown on Rights of Way", West Sussex Gazette, 26 May.

[62] Carr-Gomm P. 1993, The Druid Way, Element, Dorset, see opening acknowledgements.


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