South Downs National Park Boundary Announced

Given the chance, I spend as much time as I can in this wonderful part of the English countryside. It's a place of changing moods and lush green rolling vistas. The South Downs are a great place to exercise, relax and unwind.

Today, Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP (Secretary of State Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) signed the documents officially stating the long awaited boundary decision. You may be thinking that this was probably done behind closed doors somewhere in London, or in the offices of the South Downs Joint Committee - but no, the whole process was carried out in a quintisentially English location - The Ditchling Tea Rooms, located in the village of the same name.

It's quite normal for an event such as this to be hush-hush and consequently I only found out about the job late in the afternoon the day before. Again, this is one of those commercial jobs that's time sensitive and had to delivered within a couple of hours of being shot.

Here are someshots from the morning. They're not the ones the local press would use, but record this historic event and also illustrate that with preparedness and timing interesting shots can also be had.

Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP points towards the South Downs.
For those of you who remember the BBC TV series Fawlty Towers, this reminded me of a scene where Basil Fawlty (played by John Cleese) is up to his usual antics!

Checking to see that he's been given the right files to sign!

To me, this shot says it all.

As professionals we have to be prepared for the unexpected and ready to work at short notice, some times making the most of a not so ideal location - photographically, that is. Ditchling Tea Rooms are a fine establishment, serving and excellent range of snacks and beverages with especially good scones!

I must crack on and get my gear ready for the morning and finish backing up today's data.

For those of you interested, here's the press release:

South Downs Joint Committee welcomes designation and boundary decision for new National Park

Local people can be certain today whether or not their home will be inside the new South Downs National Park as Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced its finalised boundary. The Secretary of State’s commitment to the creation of a South Downs National Park was emphasised by his signing the designation order in Ditchling, which lies within the confirmed boundary of the National Park. The order will bring the Park into existence from 31 March 2010.

The first members of the new National Park Authority will be appointed and in post from April 2010. They will, over the following 12 months, agree how the National Park will be run and what its priorities should be. During this time, the South Downs will continue to be managed by the South Downs Joint Committee (SDJC).

Martin Beaton, SDJC’s Countryside Officer, said:

“The South Downs National Park has been 60 years in waiting and today we are one step closer to permanent protection for this unique working landscape. We now have a definite boundary and our experienced staff, rangers and conservation volunteers look forward to working with the new National Park Authority members. Together, we will work to establish the best National Park for the 21st Century and beyond.”

Alice Holt Forest in Hampshire and Green Ridge to the north of Brighton have both been included within the boundary, along with other areas of land that were considered at the public inquiry in August 2009.

Detailed boundary maps can by found on Natural England’s website at:


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