New freedom to roam on Cissbury’s downland

26 January 2016

Worthing Borough Council has dedicated its land at Mount Carvey and Tenants Hill for public access and enjoyment. It is close to the ancient Cissbury Ring, on the top of the downs above Worthing in the South Downs National Park in West Sussex.

Protest rally 2009

Protest rally 2009

The decision follows a six-year campaign led by the Worthing Downlanders (formerly the Stop the Cissbury Sell Off group). After a well-attended public rally in November 2009, at which we were one of the speakers, the campaigners persuaded Worthing Borough Council to back down on the proposed sale of public downland. Now, at last, the council has agreed to dedicate land for public access.

Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘We congratulate the Worthing Downlanders for their persistence, and Worthing Borough Council and its partners for dedicating public access to this magnificent downland. It extends the original access land at Cissbury Ring into a horseshoe, making an extensive stretch of land on which we may roam freely.

Cissbury Ring

Cissbury Ring

‘Being close to the urban fringe and within the South Downs National Park, these open, breezy downs are of special value to the large populations at their foot. It was a great relief when we saved them from sale, and the new public-access rights are the icing on the cake.’

The land has been dedicated for public access under section 16 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

A working group consisting of Natural England, the National Trust (adjoining landowners), South Downs National Park Authority, Worthing Borough Council and the Worthing Downlanders determined the detail of the new public access in relation to existing land uses such as grazing.