Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept

Devil’s Dyke in the South Downs shows the hilly grasslands which so much of Changing Chalk will be focused around. (Source: Countryside Jobs Service, 2022)

Changing Chalk Partnership, UK

The South Downs National Park is situated on the Northern urban fringes Eastbourne and runs all the way across Brighton and Hove up to Winchester, spanning 140km. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and led by the National Trust, Changing Chalk is a partnership soon to be undertaken across the downs with 18 interlinked projects set to enhance and transform the downs to restore habitats, bring culture to life and to offer new outdoor experiences for residents of the surrounding areas.

One of the projects, Sheep Share, intends to bring the grazing sheep of the downs back into the food system. The meat will be sold to locals with the aim of reconnecting them to local food production and supporting local farmers. It also plans to educate about the importance of grazing the grasslands on the South Downs National Park. Sheep Share will be lead by Brighton and Hove Food Partnership.

A group of people partake in a workshop outside held by Grow. (Source: Grow, 2022)

Educational workshop like ones currently held by Grow will be part of multiple projects in Changing Chalk. (Source: Grow 2022)

Brighton and Hove Food Partnership will also lead on the project Farm School which will engage primary school children in events to educate them in the local environment and the importance of conservation, as well as about farming and food production. This will link to school curriculum and is to be held amongst the council’s farms within the South Downs park.

Three cyclists come through a gate on a pathway somewhere in the South Downs countryside. (Source: Brighton and Hove City Council, 2022)

The South Downs is already a popular location for city-dwellers to be within nature and do outdoor activities. (Source: Brighton and Hove City Council 2022)

Projects Find Your Future, Growing New Roots and Gateway to the Downs all aim to increase public access and traffic to the downs through offering activity days, educational programs and career opportunities, and providing an engagement van between eight gateway sites across the downs. All of them have varying focal intentions including making the downs more appealing for young people, more accessible to disabled people, and to be used as a space of therapeutic outdoor activities.

Changing Chalk is not an urban proposal, however, the projects being undertaken will increase visitors from the urban environments to the peri-urban landscape and encourage thinking and connection to sustainable food systems.

People talking over gardening at a farm in the South Downs.

The South Downs has many farms which belong to the National Trust or Brighton and Hove City Council which will become part of the Changing Chalk project. (Source: Grow 2022)


For further information see the project’s own website.

For information on Brighton and Hove Food Partnership’s projects see here.

For information on The South Downs National Park see here.



Image: The hilly grasslands of the South Downs are much of Changing Chalk’s projects will focus on. (Source: John Miller 2022)


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* landscape* urban agricultureBrighton

Jasmine Cook • 2nd November 2017

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