Heathland is an important, but declining, habitat in the South Downs National Park, found mainly in its Wealden section.

Heaths were originally created by centuries of human clearance of the natural forest and woodland vegetation, by cutting, grazing and burning.

In the past, traditional practices such as cutting trees for firewood and grazing domestic animals on the heath, kept tree growth under control and maintained the open landscape where a unique range of plants, reptiles and insects evolved over the centuries.

With the loss of these traditional activities in modern life, many heathlands are now reverting to woodland and over the last 200 years, 95% of heathland in the South Downs National Park has been lost.

The remaining areas have become fragmented and today there are only 1,607 hectares of lowland heathland remaining in the National Park.

These areas support a number of rare species including woodlark, nightjar, sand lizard, heath tiger beetle, solitary wasps, and many species of butterfly and moth.

Heaths also possess an intrinsic feeling of wilderness, valued by surrounding communities, and heathland sites are much used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.