South Downs National Park throws opens its headquarters at Midhurst

GUIDED walks and bike rides, a mobile planetarium, kids’ activities and discounts on food in Midhurst restaurants were among the highlights of an open day from 11am-5pm at the new South Downs Centre on Sunday, July 27.

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Visitors also had the chance to take a tour of the new centre.

Chief executive Trevor Beattie said: “We’re very proud of our new home, which includes an exhibition about the national park, a community hub and a green conference centre.

“We want to celebrate its completion with the community.

“The event also marks the start of National Parks Week 2014. This year’s theme is ‘Space to Grow’, which celebrates the youngsters across the country and to mark the occasion we will be announcing the winners of our schools’ writing competition ‘My best day in the South Downs’, during the afternoon.”

There will be four guided walks, all finishing at the South Downs Centre open day.

The South Downs Society will be leading walks in from Lodsworth, Stedham and Cocking and the Fernhurst Society will be leading a longer walk from Fernhurst.

There will be two free guided family cycle rides starting from the South Downs Centre at 11.30am and 2pm.

In addition there is a chance to find out more about work to make the South Downs’ night skies darker in a mobile planetarium as well as meet volunteer groups and organisations.

Places on tours, guided walks and cycle rides are limited and booking in advance is advised at the reception desk of the South Downs Centre in North Street, Midhurst.

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