DOZENS of ramblers joined forces to celebrate the fifth birthday of the South Downs National Park.
Ramblers across Hampshire and Sussex marked the occasion with an event through Midhurst and the national park.
The event began at the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) centre in Midhurst with presentations by Margaret Paren, chairman of the SDNPA and Kate Ashbrook, president of the ramblers.
While Mrs Paren spoke about the achievements of the past five years and the plans for the future, Kate explained more funds were needed and the access to many parts of the downs must be improved.
Following the talks, a seven-mile walk within the Western Weald was enjoyed by all.
The group then enjoyed a picnic lunch and the walkers returned to the centre for tea and a celebratory drink.
Kate said: “We warmly congratulate the South Downs National Park on its fifth birthday.
“This was the culmination of a long campaign, and we have already seen the value of the designation many times over.
“But we must not be complacent, there is still much to be done.
“We must campaign to join up the isolated spots of land where the public has access so that everyone can enjoy the beautiful South Downs landscapes to the full.
“The next government must recognise that putting money into the national parks is an investment because they help to provide clean water and clean air, and health and happiness to the population.
“We are backing the Stop the Cuts Campaign, making it clear national parks provide top value for money.”
Dr Owen Plunkett, the publicity officer for the Hampshire Ramblers, organised the event.
He said: “We were delighted to have such a successful event.
We were delighted to have such a successful event. We have had similar events each year and have always had a good response.
“We have had similar events each year and have always had a good response.”
Details for future events can be obtained from Dr Plunkett on 02392 254959 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org