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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 2022:

Thursday, February 24th   Talk
Jonathan Russell, the CEO of Cowdray Estate, will be talking about running such a vast area of mixed businesses, from woodland to quarries, holiday cottages to polo grounds; a farm shop and cafe to wedding venues, quite apart from in-house and tenanted farms. As the estate land almost surrounds us, this should be particularly interesting.
8.00 pm in the village hall (doors open at 7.30 pm).

March 5-6   'Polish up the Parish'
Follows over the weekend, but please don't feel that is the only weekend litter can be picked up! It is dropped all the time. If you want to know where to go, so the same stretch does not get cleared several times, and would like a bag and a litter picking stick, contact Judith Turner.
Win a prize for the most unusual piece of litter collected that weekend. To enter, email a photo of the unusual piece of litter to Judith.

Saturday, March 12

  Open Fernhurst
10 am-2 pm, in the village hall, will be showcasing many of the village's clubs, societies and facilities: from the parish council and the scouts, to the lunch club (producing homemade soup on the day), The Fernhurst Hub, the U3A and all sorts in between. Come along and find out what can be done in Fernhurst. Bring someone who has moved into Fernhurst recently and let them see! ALL FREE ENTRY.

Sunday, March 13

Meet 1.20 pm Crossfield Car Park, Fernhurst, for a walk led by Bob Smalley, down to the Fernhurst Furnace, where we will meet with the owner, Robin Barnes, to hear about the history of the best preserved Wealden iron works and to see the restoration/preservation work in progress.
There are several stiles on the route. Well-behaved dogs welcome. Please wear robust footwear - no trainers. We will be entering a building site.

Thursday, April 28

Arundel, by John Barkshire. He will give a potted history of the town, the port, the cathedral and much more of interest in the place which is home to England's premier Lord and premier Earl, who is also the Earl Marshall and Hereditary Marshall of England. If enough people want to, we can organise a guided walk around the town during the summer. Village hall, 7.30 pm for 8 pm.

Bank Holiday Monday, May 2

Depart 1.30 pm Crossfield Car Park, Fernhurst. Annual bluebell walk led by Bob Smalley. Bob always manages for us to be allowed to walk across private land and see parts of the parish we cannot at other times walk.

Sunday, May 15

  Fernhurst Revels
Our usual stand organised by the Archive committee. Worth a visit as always.

Friday, June 3

  Queen's Platinum Jubilee Celebration
Bring your own picnic on the recreation ground, 2-5 pm; music, children's games, competitions, possibly even a bar and cafe! Come along and celebrate.

September 10-11.

  Fernhurst Furnace Open Weekend
Step back in time to an age when Fernhurst was home to important iron works which manufactured cannons - the Fernhurst Furnace. A unique, free, historical event at the site of the Fernhurst Furnace. Details

Mid-Sept tbc

WALK in the Shimmings Valley, Petworth

Thursday, October 27

A Talk by former employees on and about PP and ICI and what the company under its different names has done for the village. Village hall, 7.30 pm for 8 pm.

Thursday, November 24

  AGM and Talk
The AGM and then a talk by Simon Vigar, Channel 5's Royal Correspondent. Village hall, 7 pm for 7.30 pm (earlier start time).



Previous events:


  • Talk by Dr Janet Pennington: 'Sussex Inn Signs and their History'
  • Polish up the Parish - Spring
  • Talk by Philip Carr-Gomm: 'Sacred Sites of Sussex'
  • Polish up the Parish - Autumn
  • Walk: Woolbeding Common led by Dave Gibbon
  • Talk by Doug Jones 'The South Downs National Park Authority'
  • AGM & then Talk by metal detectorist Bob Fly: 'Found in Fernhurst'


  • Note: several events were cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-related restrictions
  • Talk by Tim Winter - 'Woodland Crafts and Industries'
  • Polish up the Parish - Spring
  • Polish up the Parish - Autumn
  • AGM (via Zoom)


  • 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: Care and Training of Dogs by Canine Partners
  • Talk by John Clement: Global Warming: political hype or reality? download a PowerPoint version of the presentation
  • Chapel Common walk led by Rob Free (South Downs Joint Committee ranger)
  • Nature walk: butterflies of Verdley Wood
  • Walk: Cowdray ruins in Midhurst
  • Blackdown fungal foray led by Rob Tyler from Winkworth Arboretum.
  • talk by Maureen Duke about the celebrated Fernhurst artist Francis Hurst Eastwood (1855-1944)
  • 'Voices of Fernhurst' exhibition. For details, see our Oral History page.


  • 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)