The Downs Barn
The Downs Barn is an Environment Education Centre in the heart of the Sussex Downs, at the narrowest point of the South Downs National Park, between Worthing and Steyning. The Downs Barn belongs to the Sompting Estate who use it for farming and conservation activities as well as hiring it out for courses and meetings. You can explore the story and life of this beautiful downland on Courses and events at the Downs Barn, and also through the information, pictures and links you will find on this website .
The South Downs National Park aims to protect and support a beautiful man-made landscape which has been created by, and will always need, a vibrant mixed commercial farming and rural economy. The Park's wildlife and landscape depend on a varied mix of livestock and arable farm land management, provided mainly by private farmers who carry out this work with the help of agri-environment grant funding.
Exploring and learning about the South Downs
Access for the public is well provided through the Rights of Way network. Courses at the Downs Barn may include guided walks into otherwise private, less-disturbed areas on the Sompting Estate, which are valuable for ground-nesting birds and other wildlife, and, the Sompting Estate also provides opportunities for local school children to learn about the countryside, by making available our woodlands for Forest School sessions run by the Sussex Wildlife Trust.
Opportunities for volunteering in the Sompting Downs
Our local National Park Ranger is Tom Parry and one of the things he does is to organise opportunities for volunteers to contribute to local conservation work, some of which is on the Sompting Estate, for example with dewponds and scrub management. Tom can be contacted on Tom.Parry@southdowns.gov.uk .