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Huge support for National Park Anniversary Celebrations!

The 6 th Anniversary of the South Downs National Park was celebrated at a very special event in Midhurst on Saturday 9th April This was organised by the Hampshire Area of the Ramblers in conjunction with staff at the National Park Centre.

In the centre

As part of the South Downs Vintage Walking Festival, we were given the use of a splendid Vintage South Downs Bus. This first picked up rail travellers from London, Portsmouth & elsewhere & ferried them to the SDNP Centre at Midhurst for tea/coffee & a short presentation by Allison Thorpe, a staff member.


Before boarding the vintage bus

The bus then took 54 ramblers & members of the public on to Petworth for a 7 mile walk back to Midhurst.

On the walk to Midhurst

The walkers enjoyed one of the most beautiful parts of the National Park with fine views to the North & South.

a walk thro' the woods

On arriving back at Midhurst people were given a very welcome afternoon tea, which was followed by a short talk by Sue Webber, the organiser of the Vintage Walking Festival.

The group in front of Cowdray  Ruins!

The day finished with the return bus journey to Petersfield.

Owen Plunkett, the organiser of the event expressed his satisfaction saying, “We campaigned for many, many years to create the SD National park, so we are delighted to see the fruits of our efforts. We have arranged an event to mark each anniversary and have always had a good response, but this year has been the best. Apart from the walk, people really enjoyed seeing the Park Centre, which has so tastefully been converted from what was the original Midhurst Grammar school.

Kate Ashbrook (general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, vice-president of the Ramblers and trustee of the Campaign for National Parks) was unable to attend but blogged, “Six years after the South Downs National Park came into being (and five years after the authority was established) it is still wonderful to reflect on our great joint achievement of securing protection for this magnificent expanse of countryside.  

We must campaign unceasingly to protect its borders from creeping encroachment, and to ensure that the unique and splendid qualities of the downs are unimpaired.  

They give freedom and fresh air to thousands of people and, being so close to population centres, should lead the way in enabling every child to experience the outdoors.  What better place can there be in which to learn about our countryside and the environment?”

For more information contact Owen Plunkett on 023 92254959 or email

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