Ray Dawe: The great outdoors is on your doorstep in a district that offers a wealth of opportunities

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The holiday season is in full flow and many residents from our district are travelling far and wide to enjoy a well-earned rest and a change of scene.

At the same time we also receive a fair share of visitors whether they are sightseers, day-trippers or people visiting families and friends.

We are lucky that our area offers a wealth of opportunities for tourists and locals alike to explore and discover what treasures can be found within an hour or two of our own doorsteps.

With the current vogue for what is being called a ‘staycation’, you could argue there is no need at all to join that long and testing airport and motorway queue to start your summer getaway, with so much on offer near to home.

Children don’t have to be corralled into organised events when they can be let loose around the district’s beautiful countryside.

Horsham District Council’s own park and countryside amenities such as Warnham Nature Reserve, Leechpool and Owlbeech Woods, Chesworth Farm and Southwater Country Park are well worth exploration.

Chesworth Farm - a real delight - provides free access to a 90 acre livestock farm incorporating the River Arun, grassland, wet meadow and numerous meandering footpaths and cycle tracks where you can meet flying owls, clouds of butterflies and the odd cow or three.

New restoration work on the wetland areas has further enhanced the wide variety of wildlife species and flora there to view in their natural habitat.

Warnham Nature Reserve with its 17 acre millpond also provides a vast haven for wildlife with over 400 species of plants and over 100 species of birds.

Recent conservation improvements here also improve the habitat for an even wider range of species.

This summer it boasts a new Harvest Mouse Cafe offering ten per cent off.

Adults can join the reserve’s team for bat and bird watching whilst youngsters can enjoy a day camp building or pond dipping.

We have the glorious South Downs and great beauty spots, cultural heritage and leisure activities. To name but a few: Parham House set in its 11 acres of award-winning gardens, Bramber Castle with excellent views of the River Adur valley and nearby the magnificent timber framed St Mary’s House and gardens.

While still in Horsham District, we have lovely Amberley village with its pottery, tearooms, splendid views and nearby the 36 acre museum dedicated to the industrial heritage of the area.

For the more energetic, why not check out the Horsham District Council guided walks range?

This has over 200 free walks every year across the whole Horsham District.

You can see these online at www.horsham.healthwalks.co.uk.

All our walks are led by trained volunteers and organised by levels of difficulty tailored to individual needs.

You can get that feel-good factor as well as enjoying breathtaking local landscapes.

The longer days are still with us so maybe this is the chance to take a fresh look at what’s on offer across our district or showcase it to your visitors.

Enjoy some inspiring district scenery and culture before the autumn sets in.

To find yourself some of the very best of British outings check on our website at leisure@horsham.gov.uk.