Our Gateway building was opened by Harry Goring in 2018, after a great deal of hard work and some generous donations from our key funders, the Wiston Estate, the Wilson Memorial Trust and the South Downs National Park Authority. The Gateway replaced an old and very dilapidated former Nautical Training Corps hut, which had long since fallen into disuse and disrepair.
Over £20,000 was raised to remove and replace the old building. This included a sizable amount of asbestos, which had to be carefully removed from site before work could commence. In March 2018, a specially adapted shipping container, clad in timber, was lowered into place. The front has a huge (30ft) long information panel, which charts the history of the Steyning Downland, from prehistory to the present day. We’re hugely grateful to a generous local benefactor for his financial support and to the volunteer steering group for their expertise in pulling together the information for the panel.
The Gateway roof is topped with a special growing medium which allows plants to grow and also supports solar panels, thanks to a very generous donation from Bright Spark Energy. The walls also have nesting structures for bees and bats, made by local school children – it’s a truly ‘green’ building!
In 2019, thanks to a generous grant from the Rampion Fund, we were able to landscape the site around the Gateway with a natural pond, wildflower meadow, a ‘bee hotel’, outdoor classroom area and chestnut posts fitted with stained glass which had been designed by children from local schools, with expert help from Debbie Forsdyke. Regrettably these were vandalised in October 2019 and at the time of writing, we are working on replacements.
The Gateway is our general store and also acts as an information base and welcome to the Steyning Downland. It’s located just off Mouse Lane, Steyning, behind Mouse Cottage (nearest postcode: BN44 3LQ). Do pop along and take a look when you’re next passing!