Another 670 acres of countryside around Brighton and Hove are now open to the public for perpetuity.
While all this land has been owned by the city council for many years, access to ordinary people has been limited. After negotiations with farming tenants on the land, however, we have been able to open these areas owned by the city to walkers, sightseers, birdwatchers, runners, and others looking to enjoy it for perpetuity.
The new area is roughly 10 times the size of Brighton’s Preston Park and - combined with the area around Stanmer Park that we made open access two years ago - the city’s residents and visitors how have access to an area of about 1,600 acres in total.
The spectacular landscape here includes the Chattri monument to Indian soldiers who died in the Royal Pavilion hospital from injuries during First World War. The area also includes key monuments from our local history, such as ancient burial mounds on top of Tegdown Hill. Also, terraces formed by ploughing - called ‘lynchets’ - dating back many centuries are visible.
Getting to and around this green space is also important, so we have created some eight kilometres of new footpaths and bridleways through the rolling grassland. We have also installed new gates and cycle and pedestrian tracks over the Downs between Woodingdean and Falmer, and alongside Ditchling Road to Stanmer Park.
Of course, these new rights involve responsibilities, such as respecting the landscape, farmers, their crops, and livestock. But encouraging residents and visitors to experience and enjoy our beautiful downland was one of the winning elements of our successful bid for international UNESCO Biosphere status. I look forward to seeing more projects bringing people and nature together and building on our Biosphere success.