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Hickstead — home to the famous Hickstead Derby — is about to get a £500,000 makeover. The Sussex show ground is to undergo a series of improvements, including a new 100 metre by 50 metre warm-up area.

“We have always had a policy of continual improvement, but the time was right for a substantial investment in Hickstead’s facilities,” said show secretary and director of Hickstead, Lizzie Bunn. “The new warm-up arena is also our investment in the horses being brought on for the future. It gives them a safe area with good footing to practice on before competing.”

Work has already commenced on the new all-weather warm-up arena, to be known as the Bunn Leisure Warm Up Arena, which is being laid with Martin Collins Ecotrack surface. It is sited adjacent to ring six and will provide facilities for horses competing in national show jumping classes as well as for show horses and ponies competing in the five outside rings.

Meanwhile the warm-up arena for the International Arena will also be upgraded using Martin Collins surface, and rubber and sand from the existing International Arena warm-up will be used to improve the area beside ring four.

Other projects have included the demolition of the washrooms in the stable field, which have been replaced with a new, modern facility. Work is also nearly complete on a new driveway for horseboxes exiting the stable field.