National Storytelling Week: The South Downs Water story

In honour of National Storytelling Week, running until 6th Feb 2021, we thought it would be the perfect time to share our story – which dates back over 100 years and involves a chance discovery – here on the blog.


The South Downs Water story

The South Downs Water spring, which is located just outside Chichester on the Sussex/Hampshire border, was originally opened in 1918 to play a vital part in supplying the Ministry of Defence in WWI. It was subsequently used as an ice factory in 1928 before laying dormant for many years as different businesses used the factory and premises. 

The rediscovery of what is now known as the South Downs Water spring didn’t take place until many decades later when a curious employee of what was by then a family-owned plastics company, who had coincidentally been an apprentice at the ice factory, asked to look for the well.  


A chance discovery 

During a tea break the employee sifted through one of the back store rooms until they found the well, with then business-owner Ian Windsor releasing the capping plate and tasting it. Following stringent testing, the South Downs Water spring was found to be one of the finest Natural Mineral Water sources in the UK. 

The artesian spring (which naturally brings water to the surface) draws water from over 400ft underground. It holds the prestigious Natural Mineral Water status because it’s composition is such that it doesn’t need any chemical treatment or processing whatsoever. 

Thanks to the natural chalk filtration system deep within the South Downs, the water is enriched in minerals making it high in calcium and low in sodium with absolutely nothing added or taken away.

With the plastics manufacturing business heading overseas, the decision was made to build a bottling plant on site and the family began to bottle its water on the 7th April 1990.

 Today, South Downs Water supplies hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs, businesses, large scale events and private homes across the south of the UK, Channel Islands and beyond. 


South Downs Water today 

Since 2013, South Downs Water has been independently owned and led by Will Windsor, the son of Ian Windsor. Whilst at the helm, Will has completely relaunched the brand to become the South Downs Water we know and love today reflecting the quality of the water and its provenance. 

Recognising the need for a local, sustainable Natural Mineral Water, the product range that once focused solely on providing water coolers in Sussex has now expanded to offer glass and 100% recycled plastic bottles of still and sparkling natural mineral water in a broad range of different volumes. 

A key milestone in recent years includes establishing and maintaining our partnership with The Goodwood Estate as Official Water Supplier to each of its exclusive venues and iconic motorsport and horseracing events. Head over to our stockists page to check out just a handful of other brilliant venues, restaurants and outlets that stock our water. 


 Doing things differently 

Provenance, education and quality are at the heart of what we do. We love the area we live in, we are passionate about the truly exceptional water it produces and we aim to protect it.

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As a rapidly growing business, we strive to be environmentally conscious, ethically sound, charitable and commercially responsible in everything we do as we continue on our mission to become one of the UK’s most recognised premium Natural Mineral Water brands. 


Giving back

In our minds, it’s simple. Local people and businesses support us so we make it a priority to support people in our local community who could benefit from the work of fantastic local charities. 

Every year, we work alongside and support a number of different charity events, initiatives and fundraisers. Just some of the brilliant local charities we support include Stonepillow, St Wilfrid’s Hospice, Children on the Edge and Winston’s Wish

We also support community initiatives and, during the national lockdown, set up a free local grocery delivery service for those over 70s, those shielding, NHS and emergency services staff.

To the future…

With lots of new products, concepts and initiatives in the SDW pipeline, we can’t wait to see where our story will take us in the future. Keep up to speed with the latest via our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages.