Volunteers keep Buchan Country Park looking young as it celebrates its 40th anniversary

In 1982, Buchan Country Park was officially opened to the public by Mr David Streeter of the Countryside Commission after it was bought by West Sussex County Council in 1969.

40 years on and the 170-acre country park, which is of national importance for its dragonfly populations and designated a site of Nature Conservation Importance, is still looking as good as ever thanks to the permanent and volunteer Countryside Rangers.

Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “Buchan Country Park is 40 years old this year and continues to grow in popularity. Both our permanent and volunteer rangers have done a grand job in allowing the park to thrive throughout the years and it is great to see that it still has the same appeal to visitors as it did when it first opened.

“The practical conservation work that is carried out by our volunteers also helps to maintain the park’s heathland, woodland, meadow and wetland habitats, and allows us to keep our Green Flag status, which we have now held for over 10 years. Overall, our volunteers ensure that Buchan Country Park is a fantastic place not only for our visitors but for Sussex wildlife.”

During a six-month period in 2021 and 2022 volunteers at the park provided 1,346 hours of practical works, including:

removing scrub from the heathland to allow the heather to flourish,
managing vegetation growth in wildlife ponds,
fixing leaks in the liner of a pond,
removing rhododendron from Island Pond,
clearing bramble from around a hedgerow,
removing protective fencing which is no longer required,
creating a new fire pit seating area for use by Forest School providers.
Alongside our volunteer rangers, Buchan Country Park has also had support from:

Plumpton College who have used the park to teach students about the principles and practicalities of heathland management. Three class groups visited and carried out birch and heather management tasks.
Gatwick Greenspace Partnership who carried out two heathland management tasks.
A group of 13 Scouts and five leaders from East Grinstead who spent a day with rangers widening firebreaks for their conservation badge.
There is also a group of volunteers called the Friends of Buchan Country Park who are passionate about the area and its wildlife, and who promote its use as a beautiful public space.

They have also run a range of successful and enjoyable fundraising events, including dog shows, artwork activities, Easter egg hunts and Christmas carol services.

To find out more about Buchan Country Park, including park information, and volunteering opportunities, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk and search for ‘Buchan Country Park’.