Balloon launch sites on the South Downs

The chalk backbone of the South Downs National Park has been carved and crafted by the winds and rain into hills and valleys through which we fly. Our hot air balloon launch sites are within the broader portions of the park. They are located so that given the prevailing winds and the local effects of the adjoining English Channel the majority of our flights will remain within the confines of the Park.

Prevailing winds

Along the South Coast of England the prevailing wind is a south westerley. This affords a panoramic view of the South Downs as we ride in our hot air balloon diagonally across its length. By looking South, dependant on your chosen launch site, you can see the adjoining coastal towns from Southampton in the west through Chichester and Worthing in the East.

Morning balloon flights

After a clear night, even in mid summer the South Downs will be cooler than the adjoining English Channel. Air will be rising over the sea and drawing air in from the land. The result will be an offshore breeze which would take a hot air balloon out to sea. So any launch site on the coast are restricted to evening flights only, see below.

Evening balloon rides

In the evenings the reverse is true. The land of the South Downs National Park heats up faster than the English Channel. Air rises and draws more air in from the sea creating an onshore breeze. But this effect is only up to 1,500 feet and a hot air balloon can use it to travel inland and then rise above it and ride on the prevailing winds east, to view the length of the park.

Map showing launch sites in Hampshire and West Sussex All our hot air balloon rides launch siteB=Balloon launch sites: Across the South Downs National Park from East Hampshire through West Sussex