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Things to see and do at Black Down

People walking in woodland at Black Down, West Sussex
People walking in woodland at Black Down | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Black Down is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors. Enjoy a stroll in the woodland, take your bike down the bridleways, fly a kite or take in the views from the highest point in the South Downs National Park.

Highlights this winter

Along the ridge and near ponds you may see crossbills or you catch sight of a great grey shrike on the western side of the ridge. A spectacular view of the whole of the Weald and the sea can be had on clear bright days from the Temple of the Winds viewpoint. Affectionately described by Lord Tennyson as: 'You came, and looked and loved the view, Long-known and loved by me, Green Sussex fading into blue, With one grey glimpse of sea.'

A  close up image of a black and yellow common darter dragonfly sat in the sun on a blade of grass
A common darter dragonfly | © National Trust Images/Nick Upton

Walking with the stars

On a summer's evening, get closer to the stars from the highest point in the South Downs National Park. It's been voted one of the top 10 Dark Skies destinations in the country. Away from the light pollution of nearby towns, Black Down’s sweeping skies and unspoilt views make it an ideal spot for observing the stars.


Black Down offers expansive views from every aspect. The land is predominantly open with level terrain. The site is most unusual, with a variety of landscapes. Stroll past peaty bogs, wander through woodland or just find a bench and enjoy the view.

A group of mountain bikers riding along a dirt track with tall pine forests rising up behind them
Take to the (signposted) trails | © National Trust Images/John Millar


Black Down is ideal for cycling. There are numerous easy-going bridleways, or challenging terrain for the bolder.

Kite flying

The best place to fly a kite is from the Hog's Back field above Vale Wood. Here you can also enjoy fabulous views over Vale Wood to the west and Tennyson's Lane ridge to the east. It's a fabulous place to simply relax, soak up the tranquillity and relax in wide-open spaces.

Horse riding

Horse riding is a great way to appreciate the views. There's a good network of bridleways running through Black Down.

Please note:

Horse riders, there's no car park space for deboxing, and access to the bridleway is via gates. 

A purple haze covers the sunny hillside at Black Down, West Sussex

Discover more at Black Down

Find out how to get to Black Down, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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