SUPPORTERS marked the fifth anniversary of a national park by calling for improved access to the countryside.
Hampshire Ramblers’ Society led a walk through the Western Weald of the South Downs National Park – which members spent decades campaigning to be set up.
A celebration was held at the park’s head office, in Midhurst, where Kate Ashbrook, president of the group 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 campaign for National Parks’ Stop the Cuts Campaign, making it clear that national parks provide top value for money.’
Following a picnic lunch, the walkers returned to the centre for tea and a celebratory drink.