South Downs National Park: A Visitors Guide

South Downs National Park covers an area of approximately 620 square miles and stretches across the counties of Hampshire and Sussex.

a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts

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The Royal Oak offers a range of accommodations, including five ensuite bedrooms, a family room, and two cottages, all seamlessly blending warmth, comfort, and rustic charm with modern conveniences like iPod docking, complimentary WiFi, and flat-screen TVs.


The park is characterised by a variety of landscapes, including rolling chalk hills, woodlands, grasslands, valleys, and a stunning coastline along the English Channel. The iconic South Downs Way, a long-distance footpath, runs through the park, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

South Downs National Park is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna. The chalk grasslands are particularly notable for their rare and endangered plant species. Additionally, the park supports a range of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and mammals.

The park is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and birdwatching. There are numerous well-marked trails and paths that cater to various skill levels.

Wildlife Haven

For wildlife enthusiasts, the South Downs National Park is a paradise waiting to be explored. The park is home to a wealth of species, from elusive deer and majestic birds of prey to rare butterflies and colourful wildflowers. Visitors can spot iconic creatures such as the South Downs pony, a hardy breed that has roamed these hills for centuries, or the endangered Duke of Burgundy butterfly, which finds refuge in the park’s chalk grasslands. Birdwatchers will delight in the chance to glimpse species such as the skylark, kestrel, and barn owl soaring above the rolling hills.

Outdoor Adventures

Adventure beckons around every corner in the South Downs National Park, with a plethora of outdoor activities to suit all tastes and abilities. Hiking enthusiasts can tackle the South Downs Way, a 160-kilometer trail that winds its way through some of the park’s most spectacular scenery. Cyclists will find endless opportunities to explore, with numerous dedicated cycle routes crisscrossing the park, from gentle family-friendly rides to challenging off-road trails. For those seeking a more leisurely pace, the park offers ample opportunities for picnicking, wildlife spotting, and simply soaking up the serene beauty of the countryside.

Cultural Heritage

Beyond its natural splendour, the South Downs National Park is steeped in history and culture, with a wealth of heritage sites waiting to be discovered. From ancient hill forts and Roman villas to medieval churches and stately homes, the park is a treasure trove of historical landmarks. Visitors can step back in time at sites such as the Iron Age hill fort of Old Winchester Hill or the picturesque village of Alfriston, with its charming timber-framed buildings and medieval church. The park also boasts a rich agricultural heritage, with traditional farming practices still evident in the patchwork of fields and hedgerows that crisscross the landscape.

Preserving a National Treasure

As one of England’s newest national parks, designated in 2011, the South Downs holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Efforts to conserve and protect this natural treasure are ongoing, with initiatives focused on habitat restoration, sustainable land management, and community engagement. Through education and conservation efforts, stakeholders are working together to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and biodiversity of the South Downs for years to come.


The Royal Oak is approximately 26 minutes from South Downs National Park.

Turn left onto London Road/A29
Continue to follow A29 for four miles

At Whiteways Lodge Roundabout, take the 3rd exit and stay on A29 for another four miles.

At Fontwell East Roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto A27.

At Fontwell West Roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Arundel Rd/A27 for three miles.

At Boxgrove Roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on Arundel Rd/A27

Take the A285 exit towards Guildford/Petworth

At Temple Bar Interchange, take the 2nd exit onto A285

At Temple Bar Interchange, take the 1st exit onto Stane St/A285

Turn left onto New Road for two miles

Continue onto Fordwater Road

Turn right onto Pook Lane and the Royal Oak will be on your left.