Friends of the Earth

South Downs, Eastbourne

With Eastbourne & District Friends of the Earth, and with the backing of the Eastbourne residents, Sally won a campaign to stop the sale of the farms amounting to nearly 3,000 acres of downland in the South Downs National Park. In so doing a significant threat was removed to one of the most beautiful and iconic landscapes in England enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Although the sale is now ‘off the table’, there is no guarantee that a different authority may try again, as budgets continue to be squeezed.  Sally fears that even though the area is legally protected many of the UK’s most prized wildlife sites have been damaged – sometimes by landowners themselves. She also notes that the council had already sold off much of the original Downland, removing public access and allowing the land to be turned over to intensive farming. All the more reason to do all we can now to protect the remaining areas of wildflower-rich chalk grassland.
So currently, Sally and members of the local Friends of the Earth group are in the process of working in partnership with the Council and other stakeholders to ensure the future security of the downland for everyone.  It is vital that ownership and management rest with the Borough Council in continuing to conserve and enhance this precious land.

“Living on the edge of the downland has brought me much closer to nature giving me a green sanctuary on my doorstep since moving here 21 years ago. I am so fortunate to be able to walk through this environment with its chalk grassland, a diverse and internationally rare habitat, likened to the rainforest with it’s estimated 30 – 40 species per square metre. The sight and sound of the skylarks and corn buntings never fail to excite me and earlier this year I spotted hares frolicking on an escarpment near Beachy Head”

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