FERNHURST Furnace open weekend is back this year with an array of historically inspired activities and displays at the site of the best surviving example of an ironworks in West Sussex.

Over the weekend of September 10 and 11, visitors can exploring the archeology with a guided tour of the remains of the furnace site, see musket, cannon and longbow demonstrations by the Sealed Knot, see falconry displays, demonstrations of charcoal-making, spinning, blacksmithing, glass blowing and target archery, and displays from Gosport Living History Society and early metals technology demonstrated by Butser Ancient Farm.

Activities for children including den building, treasure hunt and games, and refreshments on offer include local beer, and a lamb roast. There is free entry and free parking, although donations to the preservation work are welcome.

The remains of Fernhurst Furnace or North Park as it is sometimes known began to be excavated in 1989 and no similar site in the Weald has been consolidated and displayed for the public.

The iron industry flourished here in the 17th and 18th centuries and it was an important industry producing cast iron, tools and cannon using local ore, charcoal and water power.