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Notice: Please note payment for parking at Harting Down must be made using the RingGo system. It’s quick and easy to use – either use the RingGo smartphone apps on the site or call ahead from home on 01372 885500. All you need to start is your car’s registration and the Harting Down location number 8508. You will also be asked to key in your credit or debit card number. There’s not need to display a ticket after paying in this way as a record is generated for our car park staff. To pay online and for more information go to Paying prior to arrival cannot guarantee you a parking space. NT members can park for free.

Dramatic hill-top views and secluded valleys, with abundant wild flowers

Harting Down nature reserve in West Sussex is one of the largest areas of ancient chalk downland cared for by us. A tapestry of pristine downland blends beautifully with scattered scrub and woodland.

Experience a sense of timelessness where sheep have grazed for thousands of years. When you reach the brow of the hilltops you are greeted by views across the Weald and to the Isle of Wight.

Hear skylarks bursting with song above you and tread on grassland awash with pyramidal orchids and wild herbs. Venture off the South Downs Way into a more secluded valley where you will find species-rich downland turf edged with scrub full of songbirds. It is also home to one of the best juniper sites in the south. Butterflies such as the Grizzled Skipper thrive here. Look out for the exquisite Blue Carpenter Bee and the rare Cheese Snail.

Of historical interest is an Iron Age hill fort and cross-ridge dykes. The remains of a Napoleonic war telegraph station can be found on Beacon Hill, the highest point on Harting Down. In the last ten years we have reintroduced grazing in order to sustain the rich floristic and historical diversity.

South Downs Way

Enjoy a day's cycle © David Levenson

Enjoy a day's cycle

A section of the South Downs Way passes through here. This national trail is 100 miles long, stretching from Winchester to Eastbourne and takes in bow-backed hills covered in wild flowers, grassy valleys and old woodland.

It’s suitable for mountain biking, horse riding, long-distance walking or just a gentle stroll. To ride on other parts of Harting Down, you will need a permit; please phone our office on 01730 816638 or email us.

50 things to do at Harting Down

Join us for some family fun with our top five fun activities:

  1. Roll down a really big hill
  2. Make a grass trumpet
  3. Hunt for bugs
  4. Track wild animals
  5. Go on a nature walk at night

Events, activities and family fun

if you would prefer to take part in an organised event or activity then there's plenty to enjoy both here and at our sister site in Woolbeding throughout the year, from wildlife walks to night hikes.

Other places to enjoy nearby

Tea on the lawn at Uppark House and Garden, West Sussex © Uppark House and Garden

There are plenty of other beautiful National Trust countryside properties to enjoy nearby. Or try a visit to historic Uppark with its elegant Georgian interior and a famous Grand Tour collection.

Nearby places - Lavington Common

Early flowering heather on Lavington Common in August, with the South Downs © Fiona Scully

Lavington Common is a rare survivor of an open landscape that once stretched across the Weald. It is home to an unusual collection of wildlife, and offers bracing walks with wide open views.

Nearby places - Drovers Estate

Mature ash trees on a bank at Drovers Estate in West Sussex © National Trust/ Fiona Scully

Drovers is a hidden estate nestling in the undulating hills and valleys of the South Downs. Step back to a timeless rural life, set amidst shady woodland and rolling ancient pastures.

Nearby - Woolbeding Countryside

Common blue butterflies resting on a stem of grass at Woolbeding © National Trust/ Fiona Scully

Woolbeding countryside is quietly tucked away in the tranquil Rother Valley. With its wide horizons and intimate secluded places, this huge estate has an extraordinary blend of habitats.