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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 19:42 GMT
Beauty spots to charge for cars
Ditchling Beacon car park
Visitors park at Ditchling Beacon to enjoy the South Downs views
Visitors to the National Trust's six beauty spots on the South Downs are to be charged for car parking.

The Trust has announced it will charge 2 to park at Crowlink, Birling Gap and Ditchling Beacon in East Sussex, starting in the spring next year.

Drivers visiting Harting Down, Petworth Park and the Devil's Dyke in West Sussex will also be affected.

The Trust said the charges will go towards the 1.4m a year it costs to manage the 28,000 acres of the Downs.

'Great shame'

Some local people have protested the charge amounts to a tax for walking on the land.

Visitors to Ditchling Beacon on Wednesday expressed opposing views.

One interviewed by BBC South East Today said he thought the charge was a "great shame", especially for local people who visited the sites a lot.

But another said he thought few people would be unable to afford 2 a day to park at such beautiful spots.

Diana Owen, National Trust area manager, said: "We are certainly hoping it won't turn people away from the countryside.

"We hope they will continue to visit - it is a very small amount of money."

National Trust members and volunteers will be able to park free and a 25 season ticket will be available for regular visitors.

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