Fun-packed afternoon at Big Picnic

Children take part in the sack race at the Big Picnic
Children take part in the sack race at the Big Picnic

The annual Steyning Downland Scheme Big Picnic last Sunday (September 4) brought together families and people of all ages for a fun-packed afternoon.

Despite a rather gloomy weather forecast and threatening skies at the start of the day, the clouds lightened up, the wind dropped and everyone enjoyed a hugely varied programme.

The Steyning Air Training Corps visited for the first time, bringing with them a 20ft-tall climbing wall, a brass band and the winning team in the tug of war.

East Clayton Farm brought a herd of friendly donkeys and Frances and Simon Sedgwick brought their Dexter cattle which have been doing sterling work on grazing down the Steyning Rifle Range in recent months.

Live music was provided by outstanding singer/songwriter Maisie Peters and Caroline Still heroically conducted the ever-popular and always slightly chaotic Fun Dog Show.

The Steyning Community Orchard brought their new apple press which was in constant demand, as was the amazing selection of homemade cakes from The Crumpet Caddy – and not forgetting the bacon butties, care of Steyning Downland Scheme volunteers, George and Jo Gordon and Ann Blakelock.

Old favourites such corn platting, egg and spoon, sack racing and bushcraft and tractor rides were enjoyed by all, as were a bigger, better bouncy castle and the sumo wrestling, which this year had morphed into ‘super hero wrestling’.

For younger children, the face painting was joined by the ever popular glitter tattoos.

Time was found for a short talk by Andy Atkins, former director of Friends of the Earth, who has recently started as the new director of Christian nature conservation charity ‘A Rocha’.

The day also marked the unveiling of a new information board which was presented by Gilbert Sanders, who was a trainee on the rifle range during the Second World War.

Rick Goring, landowner and chair of the trustees of the Steyning Downland Scheme opened the event and welcomed everyone to join the scheme and get involved in conserving nature in their own neighbourhood.

To find out more about the Steyning Downland Scheme, visit