Trail Blazing

A scorching red hot furnace blazes out on one of the twenty new trails that has forged together the passion of local community for their heritage, the initiative of the Horsham District Community Partnerships* Forum and funding from the Heritage lottery fund. Together with the support of Horsham District Council, some 40 volunteers and Treetop Design a stunning, engaging and informative range of trails have been created to entice residents and visitors alike to explore Horsham districts amazing heritage. With stories ranging from a memorial to a submarine crew, to medieval iron working, to gardeners to making salt, these 20 trails reveal just how rich, but also hidden the past is.

The project, initiated by the Horsham District Community Partnerships Forum back in 2018, was intended as a way of using heritage to promote tourism, to help the local economy. Now thanks to Covid its importance has been transformed as people search out local walks that connect them to their place and so contribute to a sense of well-being, as the Heritage Lottery Fund were keen to promote. Though the trails were the final outcome, what was as important was the training of volunteers in writing and producing trails. So a guide for groups to create their own has also been written, pointing out, as the trails do, interesting features and the path to follow to create an engaging well thought out route to the destination.

Drawing inspiration from the Millennium Heritage trail, some 32 plaques scattered across the district the Heritage lottery funded project enabled community groups to explore further their local heritage and explain to others why they should seek it out. It captures people’s passions for their area, stories that grabbed their imagination, be it a gate post from a long lost garden on the outskirts of Horsham to a Burmese door in Storrington. Most of the trails are designed for walking, though two that explore the various churches are more suitable for the bike or car. But what all the trails do is reveal either interesting sites or picturesque views, from country lanes to meandering rivers, to the farmland of the downs, or the urban setting with its mixture of architecture.

So if you want to discover Storrington, Sullington, Steyning, Southwater, or Bramber, Beeding, or Henfield, Horsham, The Adur, Arun, or Rusper,  Rudgwick and then down the road to Billingshurst, or Coolham, Cowfold, or Knepp, then pick up the free trails. If you want to discover famous musicians, money men, poets, soldiers and statesmen, quirky houses to quintessentially English views then these are the trails to find. If you want to create your own trail, follow the route in the manual.

Horsham District Heritage trails was a project involving Local heritage groups across the district, the Horsham District Community Partnerships Forum, Horsham Museum (Horsham District council) Treetop Design and print and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, without whose financial support and all of those who buy the lottery ticket this project would not have been possible.

The free printed trails, full of images, will be available at local libraries post lockdown, whilst those on line are far simpler in look, so they are easy to download and can be found on Horsham Museum’s website:

*Community Partnerships

There are 7 Community Partnerships across the District in Billingshurst, Henfield, Horsham Town, Pulborough, Southwater, Storrington and Steyning.

Community Partnerships have an objective of bringing together local individuals and groups in an inclusive way to enhance the social, cultural, and economic wellbeing of their community

Working alongside the statutory authorities and other local groups, Community Partnerships:

  • Raise funds for their local area from charitable and other sources, sometimes unavailable to statutory bodies
  • Seek to understand local issues and concerns.
  • Bring together individuals and groups with a shared interest in their local area developing an action plan in an inclusive way which indicates issues of community concern.
  • Deliver improvements to their local communities deriving from the plan which may not happen in any other way
  • Have a sphere of interest that extends beyond County, District, Parish and Neighbourhood councils’ functions and cater for diverse interests in the community of all ages

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