MORE than 500 people visited the South Downs Centre in Midhurst for a community open day to celebrate the new facility and mark the start of National Parks Week.
Many were former students and staff who had studied or taught in the building when it was a school.
Andrew Lee, director of strategy and partnerships for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “We were delighted to welcome so many people. Many of our visitors joined behind-the-scenes tours to see how the building has changed, the work we’ve put in to restoring and making it more sustainable, or just to reminisce.”
The South Pond group showed some of the creatures they hope will inhabit the pond in the future. Meanwhile Coultershaw Heritage and Beam Pump and Butser Ancient Farm talked about the new work they have been able to carry out through the SDNPA’s sustainable community fund.
Andrew added: “For some, the highlight of the afternoon was hearing Fred, the winner of our school’s writing competition, read out his prize-winning entry.
“For others it was the amazing celebration cake from Exclusive Cake Shop and Vintage Tearooms.”
Bob Smalley organised a walk on behalf of the Fernhurst Society and all walkers were given refreshment vouchers to spend in selected cafes in the town. Participants enjoyed wonderful views and made their way along the Jubilee lime avenue planted by Lord Cowdray in commemoration of the Queen’s reign, to join with more ramblers, and some hot labradors, at the magnificently wide Elizabeth Oak.
Then it was a short stroll through the golf course, over the river and up the causeway, stopping only to see some polo.