January 2013

Only about 1cm of snow fell yesterday night and so today the main facilities will all open at 10.00am as per usual and closing time will be at 4.30 pm.

The Forest Drive and Butser Hill car parks remain closed as they are still covered in a good deal frozen snow and ice.   The Park has 1.5 miles of tarmac road, much of it on slopes and as a consequence these two areas will have to wait for the thaw.

Simply gritting around the main facilities and car park areas can take half a tonne of salt/grit each time we get a good freeze. At a cost of £100 a time the impact of a prolonged cold spell can be considerable. 

For regular weather updates contact reception from 10.00am on 02392 595040.


After three very busy days the crowds have now returned to school or work and the slopes of Butser are relatively quiet again. This is probably just as well as the snow is now hard and compacted over most of the hill-top and the A3 slopes.

The Park’s rangers have begun the task of removing all sorts of inventive sledging equipment, from body boards to bakers trays,  old canoes and li-los. Generally the successful items are taken home for next time leaving a colourful pile of kit for the skip.

This year to our knowledge there were no serious accidents, and that is quite unusual. The lost property would fill a small trailer, mostly gloves and hats, mobile phones and wellies. The beagle, a family pet, and 5-year-old child were thankfully collected on the day.

The weather forecast suggests that the snow will last on the tops of the Downs for a few more days and we expect a steady stream of visitors as a result.

This week two large tractors were due to start work topping the rough grassland across the top of the hill, and cutting back scrub on the steeper slopes. Due to the snow cover and all the debris both have now been postponed until next week.

For further information about the weather or for a snow report the visitor centre reception is open every day from 10.00am through until 4.30pm and can be contacted on 02392 595040.


The Park was very busy today as hundreds of people came to ski, sledge or mountain board on the slopes of Butser Hill. Good numbers also came to walk in the relative peace of Queen Elizabeth Forest.

This time the snow was perfect. even making good snowballs and snowmen. Tomorrow with temperatures around zero and light winds there should be scattered snow showers throughout the day.

The Visitor Centre, shop and cafe will be open from 10.00am (9.00am for the cafe) to 4.30pm, The main car park will be open and depending on the ice the Forest Drive will again be opened as far as the Benhams car park.


The Butser Hill car park will remain closed all day due to treacherous conditions along the lanes that lead uphill from the A3.

For those visiting the Main Centre or heading for the lower slopes of Butser please avoid parking on the north/south bound sliproads. It is very important that these are kept free of vehicles so that the gritters, and if required emergency vehicles can access the Park, and move from one carriageway of the A3 to another.

Today the Police were on hand to ensure that vehicles which parked on the highway were issued with fixed penalty tickets, and those causing a safety problem were towed away.

The snowy weather should continue well in to next week.

Only a few wooden sledges remain for sale in the Park’s shop.


Today the Country Park’s main facilities including shop, cafe and toilets will be open to the public as long as the weather holds.

The main car park is open although it is not possible to access the Forest or Butser Hill car parks.

Due to the severe snowy weather the Country Park will remain closed today.

This will affect the main visitor centre, cafe and all car parks with immediate effect.
The situation will be reviewed on Saturday morning.

Last weeks dusting of snow did not last beyond lunchtime. However the forecast tonight looks altogether different with up to 10cm expected across the South.

inevitably people think of Butser Hill, the highest point on the South Downs, at times like this and dust off the old sledge.

If the Park has to close, or if the local road links are impassable then blog posts will give all details possible.



For dog walkers the following information about livestock on Butser Hill is relevant;

Due to the expected snow and the frozen water troughs all the beef cattle have been moved from the site. The main ewe flock is grazing in Grandfathers Bottom, the steep valley to the west of Butser. And a flock of ewe lambs is grazing in Wascombe, a sheltered valley to the south of the hill.

Where livestock are grazing all entrance points (stiles and kissing gates) will be signed accordingly.


This week the Park’s biomass boiler was topped up with woodchip to be ready for the forecast cold spell.
Installed 6 years ago, and then the first of the County Council’s buildings to use this green technology, the boiler is still going strong.

Each Winter it will consume some 85 tonnes of seasoned wood chip produced from local timber. This will have been seasoned as 3 metre long logs for a year to get the moisture content down below 30%.

Once chipped a further 5% reduction will take place in store and then the optimum level has been reached.

The Park has its own woodbarn which can accommodate the entire heating season’s supply. The trailer and elevator are used every couple of weeks to get the chip from the barn to the boiler hopper.

The boiler is a Froling Turbomatic 85KW model which maintains a 2,000 litre buffer tank at 80 degrees C. It is fully automated feeding itself with woodchip and removing the ash.

The boiler heats the main facilities and provides part of our hot water. If it stops for any reason it will self diagnose producing a digital fault code to help get things going again.

Woodfuel produces significant cost savings compared to oil, gas or LPG and will also reduce carbon emmissions. For more information about woodfuel or the company which installed the equipment go to http://www.econergy.ltd.uk

This Saturday at 1.30pm there will be a 2 hour talk and tour of the whole set up from tree to radiator. Pre-booking required. Please contact reception on 02392 595040

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