National Park will be officially opened

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THE South Downs National Park officially opens next week.

Britain’s newest National Park, which covers a huge swathe of countryside across Hampshire and West Sussex, will be opened on Friday, April 1.

A celebration will be held in Petersfield town square from 11am to 2pm.

There will be various stalls promoting the National Park, including the farming, cycling and walking opportunities.

At midday the bells will ring out from St Peter’s Church, with the first bell being rung by Margaret Paren, chairwoman of the South Downs National Park.

Mrs Paren said: ‘This is a long-awaited and historic day for everyone who loves the South Downs.

‘As the new authority, we have statutory purposes and socio-economic duties which we will be working hard to fulfil.’

She added: ‘By working together, we can all protect and enhance the National Park for residents and visitors today and future generations to come.’