Inspiration at Your Fingertips

Designation Wildlife Urban Geology South Downs UNESCO

Have you ever wondered where you can find, close to your home, an array of wonderful wildlife habitats such as chalk grassland brimming with wild flowers, which make ‘The Living Coast’ where we live so special? Or how you can get to areas of open access land for the public, where you can roam freely across the Downs? Or how you can connect with volunteer ‘Friends of’ groups and help them to care for your local greenspace?

Well now you can discover all of these things about your local environment at the touch of a button! Thanks to a grant from Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environmental Sustainability Fund, the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre (SxBRC) has been working in partnership with the Biosphere programme to develop a new interactive online map for ‘The Living Coast’ – dive in here!: http://www.thelivingcoast.org.uk/explore

For the very first time, for your information and enjoyment, we have assembled in one portal a diverse array of datasets previously only available in separate technical sites or known to environment professionals only.

Now you can explore The Living Coast from the comfort of your own home, or access information when out and about (subject to signal coverage), to plan and enrich your own excursions to top visitor locations, green spaces in urban areas, habitats in the countryside (or even the sea!), and the important designated sites which make our environment so special.

On opening the online map, our three ‘Biosphere zones’ –Downs, Towns and Coast – are revealed, together with our top tips on some of the ‘Best places to visit’, if you’re looking for inspiration for a trip out then click on the coloured dots for information on each location.

To explore the map’s features fully, click on the Menu button (top left) where you can access a wealth of other information through the Layers list by ticking on topics you’d like to display (note that you may need to zoom in a bit to reveal some detailed layers such as footpath networks. Switching on the Legend will give you more information about what each selected layer is showing.

And it’s not simply all about tourism and recreational use either, since you can also locate local greenspace volunteering opportunities through the ‘Greenspace Groups’ layer, including links to access more information on each group to find out how to get involved with their important work. We’ve also included useful links on public transport and cycle routes to help you on your journey, as well as encouraging you to let us know what wildlife you spot whilst you’re out and about.

This is the first time that SxBRC has developed a public information tool like this – designed to make environmental information more accessible to local people like yourself – so we’d really appreciate your feedback! If you’ve got any comments on the content or functionality of the map, then we’d be pleased to hear from you by emailing us at info@sxbrc.org.uk

Enjoy exploring!

Clare Blencowe
Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre – Manager
http://sxbrc.org.uk

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