Eastbourne Borough Council owns 4000 acres of downland of which 1,200 acres is 'Open Downland' - free, open access land for the public to enjoy.
The remainder is used for farming with public access on rights of way.
We manage this land in accordance with our Downland Management Plan and within the guidelines of several other agencies.
Our responsibility regarding the Open Downland is to ensure that the public has access to the land and information about it at the same time as protecting the natural environment.
Our responsibility towards our four tenant farms - Black Robin Farm, Chalk Farm, Cornish Farm and Bullock Down Farm - is to fulfil our obligations as landlord by collecting rent and carrying out repairs.
The practical management of the land is carried out by the our Downland Ranger Service and by various contractors who are supervised by the Ranger Service. We also have voluntary rangers.
We have an Arboriculturist Officer to supervise the management of 250 acres of deciduous woodland mostly on the Eastbourne Downland eastern escarpment.
The management of the Eastbourne Downland takes place in consultation with several other agencies. They are:
Natural England has been formed by bringing together English Nature, the landscape, access and recreation elements of the Countryside Agency and the environmental land management functions of the Rural Development Service.
Natural England will work for people, places and nature to:
enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas
promote access, recreation and public well-being
contribute to the way natural resources are managed so that they can be enjoyed now and in the future.
They are also responsible for sustaining and enriching the wildlife and natural features of England, designating National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB's), Heritage Coasts, National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI's).
The Eastbourne Downland is an AONB and south of the A259 is Heritage Coast. There are also several SSSI's on the Eastbourne Downland which are managed in consultation with Natural England. This land is therefore managed in accordance with their conservation guidelines.
Natural England is working towards the delivery of four strategic outcomes, which together deliver on our purpose to conserve, enhance and manage the natural environment for the benefit of current and future generations.
A healthy natural environment: England’s natural environment will be conserved and enhanced.
Enjoyment of the natural environment: more people enjoying, understanding and acting to improve, the natural environment, more often.
Sustainable use of the natural environment: the use and management of the natural environment is more sustainable.
A secure environmental future: decisions which collectively secure the future of the natural environment.
South Downs Joint Committee
The Board consists of representatives from all the authorities in Sussex involved with the management of the South Downs. Members meet to consult with each other on a number of shared issues and concerns, such as planning applications for the downland and long term management plans.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
This central government ministry is responsible for farming policy and also for the designation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA's). The South Downs are designated an ESA. Under the ESA Scheme the farmers and landowners within an ESA can apply for grants from DEFRA in return for adopting measures to protect the area.