A free, family-friendly roadshow is touring our county over the Easter holidays to showcase everything that is special and unique about the South Downs National Park.
The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) roadshow aims to bring the national park to towns and cities around the South Downs.
It coincides with the UK-wide Discover National Parks Fortnight, from April 6 to 21,
Plans are to celebrate all that is special and unique about the South Downs with a series of fun-filled family activities, including a giant colouring wall, a range of virtual reality experiences and woodcrafts.
Led by SNDPA rangers, the events also provide an opportunity to find out more about wildlife conservation in the national park.
Roadshows are being arrange in venues in both West and East Sussex.
They take place on Tuesday, April 9 in historic Newhaven Fort; on Wednesday, April 10 in the market and Carfax area of Horsham; on Thursday, April 11 in Jubilee Square, Brighton; on Tuesday, April 16 in Montague Square, Worthing; and on Wednesday, April 17 in Queens Square, Crawley.
Further afield, roadshows are being held in the Forest Community Centre, Bordon; the Canoe Lake in Southsea in Portsmouth; and the Rotunda, Guildford.
All of the events run from 11am to 3pm and there is no need to book in advance.
SDNPA events and engagement officer Laura Warren said: “The South Downs is such a special landscape and we want to encourage people of all ages to get out and discover it for themselves.”
Laura said: “Our roadshow will have lots of activities for children and we’re hoping it will inspire them to want to find out more about this wonderful place.
“We’ve chosen urban locations on the fringes of the national park because we’re keen to raise awareness of the opportunities the South Downs offers, not only for those living within it, but also those people who might not have been before.”
Among other elements, the roadshow will offer plenty of tips and ideas for family days out over the Easter holidays, including wildlife-related activities.
Laura said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors and showing people how easy it is to get out and discover their national park.”
For further details, see www.southdowns.gov.uk/enjoy/events/discover-national-parks-2019
* Easter Giant Duck Trail at the Arundel Wetland Centre, Mill Road, Arundel, West Sussex. April 6 to April 22.
* Reptile Ramble (for adults) at RSPB Pulborough Brooks nature reserve. April 6.
* South Downs Spring Foraging Courses at Queen Elizabeth Country Park (Visitor Centre). April 7.
* Vintage Car Show at Amberley Industrial Museum. April 7.
* Dawn Chorus Walk at Arundel Wetland Centre, Mill Road, Arundel. April 8.
* South Downs National Park Roadshow at Newhaven Fort. April 9.
* South Downs National Park Roadshow at Horsham market area, Carfax. April 10 and 11.
* Wild Families – Mousehunt! at RSPB Pulborough Brooks nature reserve. April 10.
* South Downs National Park Roadshow at Jubilee Square, Brighton. April 11.
* Spring Industrial Trains at Amberley Industrial Museum. April 14.
* Lynchmere Common Health Walk. April 15.
* Wild Families – Brilliant Birds at RSPB Pulborough Brooks nature reserve. April 15.
* South Downs National Park Roadshow at Montague Street, Worthing. April 16.
* South Downs National Park Roadshow at Queens Square, Crawley. April 17.
* Chapel Common Health Walk, Rake. April 18.
* Night-time Safari – a watch of nightingales at RSPB Pulborough Brooks nature reserve. April 18.
* Evening Bat Walk at Arundel Wetland Centre, Mill Road, Arundel. April 25.
* ‘Inspired by Nature’ creative weekend at RSPB Pulborough Brooks nature reserve. April 26 to 28.
* Begin Wood Carving Workshop at Arundel Wetland Centre, Mill Road, Arundel. April 27.
* Batty About Bats at Arundel Wetland Centre, Mill Road, Arundel. April 27.
* Spring Bus Show at Amberley Industrial Museum. April 28.
‘Nine easy ways to care’
The South Downs National Park was born in 2010 after years of campaigning, ensuring 1,600 square kilometres of breathtaking views, unique heritage and hidden gems were protected for the benefit of the nation.
Nine years on, the national park is a thriving community.
SDNPA media and public relations officer Jeff Travis said: “From farmers to residents, to walkers, to visitors, to volunteer groups – each one is playing their part as custodians of this amazing place.
“Our ninth birthday also coincides with the 70th anniversary of the laws creating national parks as the UK’s breathing spaces.”
Jeff said: “Fittingly, it’s also the Year of Green Action, a government-backed initiative aiming to encourage people to take action that is beneficial to the environment.”
To celebrate the anniversary, the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) has put together nine tips to help us all become active custodians and care for our beautiful national park:
1. Experience it: get out and enjoy the beauty of the national park – ‘we promise it will inspire you’.
2. Save water: the South Downs is home to a huge aquifer that provides clean water to 1.2 million of us, so have a shower instead of a bath and turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
3. Volunteer: dozens of local conservation groups help protect and enhance biodiversity - see www.southdowns.gov.uk/care-for/volunteering/conservation-groups/ for more
4. Buy less plastic and, if you must buy it, recycle or bin it.
5. Eat local: enjoying the food and drink produced in the South Downs helps support the network of businesses that are the lifeblood of the national park’s economy.
6. Reduce chemical use in your garden: excess fertiliser and pesticides run through the soil and can end up in our groundwater, rivers, streams and wetlands, so consider organic methods for pest, weed and disease control.
7. Pick up litter: wherever we are in the national park, we need to ensure we bin litter or take it home.
8. Travel sustainably: walk, cycle, use public transport and car share where possible.
9. Share it: be sure to capture the beauty of the South Downs and share those images on social media to raise awareness of why this area is so special.