Walkers, bird lovers and others who use Truleigh Hill, north of Shoreham, are being urged to have their say on the future of this high point on the South Downs.
The South Downs National Park Authority wants to safeguard this special part of our landscape by enriching educational and engagement opportunities for residents and visitors.
A community consultation is being held on Sunday, March 3, from midday to 4pm at YHA Truleigh Hill, South Downs Way, Shoreham.
Phil Paulo, community landscape project officer for Truleigh Hill, said: “The SDNPA would be very interested to hear the views of members of the local community and visitors to Truleigh Hill, to assist us in shaping our plan and in ensuring that our proposals meet the needs of the community and site users.
“This is the first of a number of consultation events to share our vision and capture the opinions of local people.”
Free parking will be available and a free shuttle bus will run throughout the afternoon from the junction of Mill Hill and Erringham Road, Shoreham, up to Truleigh Hill YHA and back.
The Truleigh Hill Landscape Project will be to linked with surrounding schools and colleges to educate and engage with young people in the surrounding area.
Phil said: “It is hoped that by learning about the geography, history and evolution of the landscape, they will treat it with regard in the future.
“This exciting new project will provide an opportunity for local residents and stakeholders to work alongside the National Park Authority to create a future vision for Truleigh Hill, which will safeguard this special part of the South Downs National Park, while enriching educational and engagement opportunities for visitors to this part of the South Downs Way.”
Truleigh Hill was used for radar defences during World War Two and there are four, 47m-high telecommunications towers around the hill, which were originally part of the radar station.
Phil said: “These towers are highly visible as eyesore landmarks for many miles in all directions and in many skyline views of the wide and open downland.
“The first year of the project will involve wide engagement to identify the issues and develop the integrated Landscape Plan for Truleigh Hill, which will include an action plan outlining physical interventions and project works.
“The second and potentially subsequent years will involve the realisation of the plan and the delivery of the project work, which will be a range of activities from chalk downland restoration and tree felling to interpretation, activity and educational events involving a wide range of the stakeholder groups from across the local community.”
The SDNPA would like to capture your views on what makes Truleigh Hill special, what makes you visit it and what you think could be done to improve and safeguard the area for future generations.
Visit www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TruleighHill to complete the survey, which should take about 20 minutes.
At the drop-in session on Sunday, people will also be able to discover more about the planned improvements at Truleigh Hill Youth Hostel and sample delicious refreshments from the YHA café.
There will be free nature-based and wilderness skills activities for all the family throughout the afternoon, coordinated by So Sussex.
Meet RSPB volunteers and learn about the local wildlife species, from barn owls to chalk hill blue butterflies
Take a virtual animated tour of the RAF underground bunker at Truleigh Hill, giving you a glimpse into the site’s history and hidden heritage.
If you would like to find out more about the project, email Phillip.Paulo@southdowns.gov.uk or telephone 01730 819283.