South Downs National Park marks seven years

The group outside the SDNP Centre before the start of the walk

The group outside the SDNP Centre before the start of the walk

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The South Downs National Park celebrated its seventh birthday earlier this month.

To mark the occasion, the Hampshire Ramblers organised a special event at the SDNP Centre in Midhurst. Members of the public, Ramblers, and members of other organisations took part. Margaret Paren, the chair of the SDNP Authority greeted everybody and outlined the achievements so far. She expressed concern over funding for the countryside when Brexit took effect. Kate Ashbrook from the Ramblers took up this theme when she spoke after people returned from a walk in the National Park. She said, “ We must make sure that post –Brexit agricultural payments are used to improve public access and the landscape so that places like the South Downs National Park will benefit.

“The public-path network is at risk of neglect and deterioration from lack of funding, as county councils have other priorities even in the national park. We need to ensure that we get more access land in the South Downs”.

Before hearing Kate Ashbrook, a 7.5 mile walk had been enjoyed by all. Much of the route was beside the river, Rother. Highlights seen on the route included the Mill at Stedham and churches at Stedham and Woolbeeding.

Owen Plunkett, the organiser of the event said: “We had a very successful and enjoyable day. We have arranged similar events for each of the previous six years and no doubt, we will do the same next year”.

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