Actor Hugh Dennis helps villagers launch new walking guide

C150342-1 Hugh Dennis  phot kate''Hugh Dennis cuts the ribbon to mark the launch of the walking guide.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C150352-1 SUS-150223-174049001
C150342-1 Hugh Dennis phot kate''Hugh Dennis cuts the ribbon to mark the launch of the walking guide.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C150352-1 SUS-150223-174049001

COMEDIAN and actor Hugh Dennis joined fellow residents from a cluster of villages in launching a brand-new series of local walking guides.

The Octagon Parish is made up of eight villages in the South Downs National Park with churches – Stansted, Racton, Stoughton, East Marden, North Marden, Up Marden, Compton and Forestside – and two without churches, West Marden and Walderton.

An 18-mile ‘Octagon Way’ links all the villages together and residents have produced a new 16-page booklet called Octagon Walks to guide people around the churches.

On Monday, about 50 local residents walked part of the route before Mock the Week star Hugh cut the ribbon to officially launch the guide.

He said: “Our community is very proud of its ancient downland churches, some of which date back to Saxon times.

“These walks will allow more people to explore them, using short, simple routes or the full 18-mile Octagon Way.”

The project has been supported by the South Downs National Park Authority’s sustainable transport solutions fund.

Andrew Lee, from the national park, said: “The idea for the Octagon walks came from the community and it’s local people who’ve made it happen.”