Respect. Protect. Enjoy: Help us keep West Sussex beautiful

Natural spaces offer us opportunities for relaxation, exercise, and recreation, allowing us to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, it is crucial to recognise that while we immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature, we also have a responsibility to preserve and protect these precious habitats for future generations.

Here are some guides and considerations to take on board to reduce our impact and help protect the environment:

South Downs National Park countryside

SDNP: Happy Nature, Happy You

West Sussex is a nature-lovers dream with the South Downs National Park reaching across the region. A walk in the downs is the perfect tonic for a wellbeing boost so please do take a look at this quick guide for you to help us keep it beautiful during your stay.

Two people on paddleboards

How to be an environmentally aware paddler

With its rivers, canals, lakes, long shoreline and legion of watersports experts, West Sussex is a great place to get out on the water. But before you hop into that kayak, step onto that paddleboard or launch that kite, make sure you’re protecting our environment.

Underwater diving with Mulberry Marine Experiences

A guide to marine conservation in West Sussex

Being in, on or simply near the sea can boost your physical and mental wellbeing. But what about the impact you have on the coast when you visit? Read our guide and learn how to enjoy and protect West Sussex’s wildlife-rich marine environments.

Our top tips

Leave no trace

One of the most fundamental ways we can contribute positively to the environment is by keeping these areas litter-free. Littering  can have disastrous consequences for wildlife and ecosystems. Plastic bags, bottles, and other waste items can pose a significant threat to animals that may ingest them or become entangled, leading to injury or even death. Therefore, it is essential to dispose of waste properly.


Respect country code rules

When exploring nature reserves or farmlands, it is crucial to be respectful of the guidelines set by local authorities or landowners. In some cases, you may encounter gates that should be closed behind you. These gates are often in place to protect wildlife and livestock and to maintain the integrity of the area. By adhering to these rules, we can help prevent animals from wandering into unsafe areas or disturbing the delicate balance of their habitats.


Pet etiquette

Another aspect of enjoying nature responsibly is being considerate towards farm animals and pets. If you bring pets along, ensure they are kept under control and on a leash where necessary. Farm animals can be easily startled, and even a well-meaning interaction with them might cause distress or harm. Always seek permission from the landowners before approaching or interacting with any animals on private property.


Don’t get too close

When exploring areas with wildlife, it is essential to observe from a distance. Avoid getting too close or disturbing their natural behaviours. This respectful distance not only ensures your safety but also minimises stress and disruption to the animals, allowing them to carry on with their daily routines undisturbed. This guide from Bird Aware Solent, raises awareness of birds need to rest and feed undisturbed.

Enjoying nature, wildlife, and open spaces always goes hand in hand with responsible and respectful behaviour so we can ensure that these beautiful landscapes remain pristine and continue to provide us with joy and solace for generations to come.


Together, we can make a positive impact on the environment and create a brighter, greener future.

Respect, protect and enjoy our natural world. Read the countryside code.


Sussex is an extraordinary county to visit and experience wildlife but don’t forget to tread lightly and leave no trace.

Taking responsibility for your dog is especially important when out and about in amongst our natural places and spaces. For more information see Take the Lead – South Downs National Park Authority

The Countryside Code (published by Natural England) is a useful guide to respect protect and enjoy our natural areas. The Countryside Code (

Being in or near the sea can boost your wellbeing.  The Sussex Dolphin Project has some great guidelines for protecting marine mammals.

Read more information about protecting the environment from our wildlife experts: Sussex Wildlife Trust, RSPB, South Downs National Park, Arundel Wetland Centre.