HIP spoke – at a safe distance – to Michael Moor, FoHCP chairperson and asked how the group is doing day to day. He told us: “The Country Park Nature Reserve supports our physical and mental health and is much busier than usual with people taking their permitted daily exercise. 

“To keep in contact with our members we’ve created a new regular email series: Nature Reserve Hello! In recent weeks it’s celebrated the first bluebells and encouraged our members to identify birds that they might see in a garden or on a walk. You’ll find the Hellos! on our website.

PICTURE: Dave Young

“Approaching the country park from Hastings Old Town you could make a circular walk linking two parts of the East Hill by using the recently reopened path above the landslip in Ecclesbourne Glen. At the other end of the park, Fairlight residents have the delights of the Firehills to explore, maybe discovering the pine woods close to Channel Way. A map of the country park is on our Website

“Our management committee has held one virtual meeting by email to respond to Natural England’s consultation about the England Coast Path and new byelaws being instituted by the Borough Council. 

“This year we’ve increased our membership substantially, and therefore our income, so are hopeful that there won’t be a problem. We have a grant from Sussex Community Foundation to set up, in partnership with Groundwork Trust and Hastings Council, a conservation volunteering team for the Country Park. 

“At the start of 2020 the friends hosted two successful talks, each attended by more than 60 people. The first about the building of the ‘straw bale’ visitor centre, the newest building in the country park, and the second about the oldest building, Fairlight Place. When the Coronavirus restrictions end we will work to put the programme back on track.”

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