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The Fernhurst Society

Meetings, talks and exhibitions


The Society primarily organises a programme of evening and afternoon talks and discussion meetings on matters of local interest, most of which are held in the village hall; and a variety of summertime guided walks and explorations of the parish and surroundings. Audio recordings of some of the talks are preserved in the Fernhurst Archives.

Non-members may attend indoor talks for a small fee, and are welcome to join outdoor events. Accompanied children are welcome at all talks and walks.

The Society and its Archives have organised several very successful exhibitions: in July 2000, a 'millennium' exhibition including a photographic competition; in 2003 a Fernhurst Wildlife Exhibition, with local arts and crafts; in 2007 an exhibition on oral histories and the launch of our Voices of Fernhurst book; in 2010 an exhibition on the history of ICI/Zeneca company in the village; in 2012 the Archives celebrated the Queen's Jubilee with a show of memorabilia, in 2014 on WWI; in 2015 on the 1940s; and in 2017 a major exhibition commemoratimg the Blackdown air crash..

The Society's social events have included Christmas parties and summertime barbecues.


Current programme (fuller details may be in our latest newsletter):

dates for 2020:

Thu 27 Feb   Talk
'Woodland Crafts and Industries', a talk by local historian Tim Winter, who will illustrate his talk using historical post cards and photographs from his large collection. As the most wooded parish in the whole of the South Downs National Park, Fernhurst has a strong history of woodland crafts and industries. Fernhurst Village Hall, doors open 7.30 pm for refreshments and chat, prior to talk at 8 pm.

Sat 14 – Sun 15 March   'Polish up the Parish'
Cast of hundreds needed.
- to fight the invaders who are covering the countryside with tins, bottles, papers, plastic litter, etc, etc.
We can overcome.
- clear your bit of the Parish. Return it to how it should be. Arm yourself with a plastic bag, rubber gloves and sharp eyesight. This is not an organised event, but villager Judith Turner has volunteered to co-ordinate locations for the clean-up. Contact Judith at email
Win a prize.
- for the most unusual piece of litter collected, photographed and reported to Judith.

Thu 30 Apr Cancelled

By Jonathan Russell, CEO of The Cowdray Estate - 'Up Country with Cowdray'. An insight into the running of a large country estate. Fernhurst Village Hall, doors open 7.30 pm for refreshments and chat, prior to talk at 8 pm. NOTE: Cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions.
Sun 3 May Cancelled  

Local walk to see the Bluebells, led by Bob Smalley. Depart 1.30 pm from Fernhurst Recreation Ground Car Park (Village Green). Please wear suitable footwear. Enquiries NOTE: Cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions.

Sat 12 – Sun 13 Sept   Fernhurst Furnace Open Weekend
The remains of Fernhurst Furnace are some of the best preserved of all Sussex Weald ironworking sites. This is always a great weekend of activities, usually with a living history society and the Sealed Knot in attendance. Free entry, free parking, all donations welcome. All donations go to the charity set up to preserve this special site. Details

Sun 20 September   Fernhurst Revels (new date).
Fernhurst Society and Archive will have a stand and display at the Fernhurst Revels. Come and visit us! Find out about local projects and local history. Fernhurst Recreation Ground.

Thu 29 Oct



By Doug Jones from the SDNPA - 'The South Downs National Park Authority: the first ten years and beyond'. Doug's talk gives an insight into the work of the country's newest National Park and plans for the future. Fernhurst Village Hall, doors open 7.30 pm for refreshments and chat, prior to talk at 8 pm.

Thu 26 Nov


AGM and talk
'Found in Fernhurst' talk by Bob Fly. Bob has found many fascinating finds with his metal detector and will bring along some of the items. Fernhurst Village Hall, doors open 7 pm for refreshments, AGM at 7.30 pm, followed by talk.



Previous events:


  • Talk by Lord Egremont: "Life and times in Petworth House"
  • Polish up the Parish
  • Talk by Lesley Chamberlain: Within these Walls - Stories of Sussex houses, their history and their residents
  • Walk: Bob's Bluebell Bimble!
  • Walk: Historic Petersfield
  • Walk - The [Devil's] Punch Bowl - without the Punch!
  • Talk: The history of Midhurst, by Dave Rudwick
  • AGM & talk by Jeremy Musson on special buildings in West Sussex


  • Talk by Hugh Turrall-Clarke: The History of Haslemere from its Buildings
  • Talk by Susan Howe: ‘All Things British’
  • Guided walk to see spring Bluebells, led by Bob Smalley
  • Guided walk led by Bob Smalley - a stroll around Fernhurst
  • Talk by Peter Gosney: Petersfield - From Normans to Tsars and Kings
  • AGM; and talk by Admiral Sir Ian Garnett: The story of the Commonwealth War Graves


  • Talk by Mark Seaman: "Secrets of the High Woods"
  • Walk lead by Mark Seaman:
  • Talk by Susan Howe: "History minus the Boring Bits"
  • A meander over Witley and Milford Commons, lead by Bob Smalley
  • Guided walk of Petworth Park led by Henry Wakeford
  • Talk by Robin Ellks: "Kingsley Green Discovered"
  • Blackdown Air Disaster, 50th anniversary exhibition and memorial service
  • AGM and talk by Tim Winter: "Haslemere People and Places".












  • Half-term talk: John Self, a local expert on rabbits and national rabbit judge
  • Walk: Beating the Parish Bounds VII: Poison Copse to Lower Lodge.
  • Talk: Maureen Duke: Memories are Made of This - growing up in Fernhurst in the '30s, '40s, '50s and '60s
  • Walk: Chithurst & monastery woodlands, led by Jenny Lynch of the South Downs Joint Committee
  • Walk: Highfield/Verdley and Verdley Place, the farms, and the ICI / Zeneca / Syngenta story.
  • Walk:Beating the Parish Bounds VIII: Lower Lodge to Highbuilding, led by Judith Turner. The final leg in our series of popular Boundary walks.
  • Summer BBQ at Vannlands on Van Common with music by the Super Swing jazz quartet.
  • Film by Adam Koronka on the Dornier plane shot down over Fernhurst in 1943.
  • Talk: Return to Everest by George Band.


  • Talk by Graham Cornick of the Hydestile Wildlife Hospital
  • Talk by the Fernhurst Archives team: A glimpse of Edwardian Fernhurst
  • Walk: Beating the Parish Bounds V: Scotland’s Farm to Elmers Marsh.
  • Walk at Burton Mill Pond, led by Graham West (South Downs Conservation Board)
  • Walk: birdsong on Thursley Common, led by Richard Ranft
  • Village history walk: discover Vann Road and Van Common; led by Helen Ouin and Robin & Carla Barnes
  • Walk: Blackdown ramble, led by a National Trust warden.
  • Walk: Beating the Parish Bounds VI: Elmers Marsh to Lower Lodge Farm.
  • Talk and tasting with James Lane: Wine and Cheese evening
  • Talk: Sustainable Woodland Living by Ben Law, author of The Woodland Way and The Woodland House


  • Nikki Hamburger: An afternoon with a hawk
  • Talk by Julia Tanner: Recent Developments at the Haslemere Educational Museum
  • Talk by Alan Redman (West Sussex Record Office): Sussex at War
  • Walk: Beating the Parish Bounds III: Wadesmarsh Farm to Bexley Hill
  • Village history stroll, led by Helen Ouin and Iain Brown
  • Evening nightjar watch on Iping Common, led by Richard Ranft
  • Junior Fernhurst Society event: Martin Love (Sussex Bat Group) talk about bats
  • Lynchmere & Stanley Commons walk, led by Hilary Adair of the Lynchmere Society
  • Walk: Beating the Parish Bounds IV: Bexley Hill to Scotland Farm
  • Talk by Liz Wilson (Portable Antiquities Scheme): Identifying historical objects
  • Guided walk around Lower House Farm and estate
  • AGM & presentations by the Oral History Group: Fernhurst in Living Memory


  • Talk by Michael Tibbs: The Lynchmere Society and Lynchmere Common
  • Talk by Norman Hodgson: Endurance to the Antarctic
  • Walk: Beating the Parish Bounds I
  • Village walk looking at historic houses, led by Helen Ouin
  • Butterfly walk at Henley, led by Arnold Madgwick
  • Guided walk at Furnace Pond, North Park, led by Robin and Carla Barnes
  • Guided visit to Tilford Rural Life Museum
  • Talk by John Magilton on Fernhurst archaeology
  • Fernhurst Wildlife Exhibition
  • Walk: Beating the Parish Bounds II: Bell Vale Lane to Valewood
  • AGM, and talks by Julie Wilkinson: Waste Recycling & by Linda Glynn: Renewable Energy from a local perspective


  • Talk by Ian Elliott: Villages- thinking about the future
  • Talk by Bruce Middleton: A Year in the Life of a Sussex Downs Ranger
  • Evening field trip: nightjar watch on Iping Common, led by A. Madgwick
  • Field trip to Burton Mill Pond, led by Bruce Middleton
  • Field trip to Levin Down, led by Arnold Madgwick
  • Guided walk on Stanley Common led by Hilary Adair of the Lynchmere Society
  • Community Orchard meeting
  • Talk by Helen Ouin, Iain Brown & Charlotte Wilson-Pepper: People, Places and Tales of Fernhurst
  • AGM, followed by presentations: Revelations from the biodiversity surveys


  • Talk by Laura Ponsonby: The Story of Shulbrede Priory
  • Talk by Mrs A McCann (Assistant County Archivist): West Sussex Record Office
  • Talk by Commander Keith Evans: HMS Hood
  • Talk by Julian Gray The work of the Sussex Downs Conservation Board


  • Talk by George Lockie: The Verdley Estate
  • Talk by Laura Ponsonby: Wild Flowers of the Weald and their Uses
  • Talk by Richard Ranft: The Mystery of bird song
  • Talk by Dr John Godfrey: The Future for the South Downs
  • Talk by Ben law: Sustainable Woodland Management
  • Talk by Martin Love: An evening of bats
  • Nightjar watch on Iping Common, led by A. Madgwick
  • Birds and butterflies on Harting Down, led by A. Madgwick


  • Talk by Alf Simpson: Ebernoe Common, Its Woods, Flora and Wildlife
  • Talk by Kim Leslie: A Parish Map for Fernhurst
  • Talk by Richard Muir: Admiralty Signalling Systems
  • Talk by Mark Taylor: Archaeology of the western weald and recent discoveries in West Sussex
  • Visit to Ebernoe Common
  • Fernhurst spring walk


  • Talk by Dr Annabel Hughes: Timber-framed Buildings and Their Development
  • Old Iron Works at North Park (walk)