PEOPLE will look at a Petersfield beauty spot with new eyes after this weekend as a popular event will reveal some of its many secrets.

History will come alive this Saturday and Sunday as the Secrets of the Heath festival is returning to the town.

A series of fun and interactive events will give visitors the chance to learn more about its horrible histories and wonderful wildlife.

Visitors will get the chance to join a Saxon shield battle and could be ordered to ‘stand and deliver’ by a highwaywoman. They can also watch a bird of prey demonstration and meet the snakes and lizards which call the heath their home.

The annual festival is organised by the Heathlands Reunited Project – a partnership of 11 like-minded organisations led by the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA). It promises to be fun but the event is also about educating visitors about the Heath’s wildlife and ecosystem.

“Heaths are rare habitats, rich in wildlife and fantastic open spaces for families to explore, said Heathlands Reunited Communications and Engagement Officer at the SDNPA Katy Sherman.

“But they are under threat and would disappear completely without active management.

“Secrets of the Heath is a chance for people to find out how people have lived and worked the Heath over thousands of years and how you can play your part today to save them.”

The free event will give people the chance to come face to face with heathland characters from prehistoric to present times. Roman soldiers and Medieval warriors will make appearances throughout the weekend as there will be a daily programme of displays and re-enactments in the arena.

People can try their hand at archery while skilled craftspeople will demonstrate how to make Stone Age flint tools and birch brooms. Even the family dog can get involved, as there will be a countryside dog ability challenge, while a bat walk will take place on Saturday evening.

The festival is also an important event for Petersfield Museum given its involvement in the barrows’ excavations.

“We will have a stall on Sunday and there will be information about the Heath Barrows project and all the excavations which have come to an end,” said museum curator Katherine Mills.

“We’ll also have some handling things for people to look at and there will be a walk which will start at 2.30pm, although we would like people to pre-book so we can get an idea of numbers.

“The festival is a really good way for us reach out to the public and showcase what the museum does.”

The event will take place between 11am and 5pm on both days. For details visit