Love our parks: make the most of summer
It’s Love Parks week at the end of July, so with the summer holidays approaching, why not get out and about with your family and explore the delights of our country parks.
In addition to the two famous national parks, South Downs National Park and New Forest National Park, our six parks attract more than 1.2 million visitors a year and are among the best in the country. It’s not hard to see why people are drawn to them.
Each of the parks has something unique to offer:
The country park at Lepe with its coastal location is part of a world class environment, situated in the south of the county within the New Forest National Park.
Royal Victoria Country Park in Netley has parkland and a waterfront location. It was home to the largest military hospital in the world, which played an important part in caring for wounded troops during the First World War. The Chapel still remains.
Staunton Country Park at Havant is host to nationally important heritage parkland as well as an ornamental farm and gardens.
Queen Elizabeth Country Park, near Petersfield, is a key gateway to the South Downs National Park with a wealth of trails and paths which can be explored on foot or by bike.
Titchfield Haven has international conservation designation. The Nature Reserve and coastal location has much to offer the keen bird and wildlife watcher.
Manor Farm and Country Park, on the edge of the River Hamble, was the site of BBC2’s Wartime Farm and provides a fantastic family day out. It was recently recognised by Visit England as a ‘Quality Assured Visitor Attraction’.
All six parks have been awarded the national Green Flag Award recognising their high quality.
Attracting future generations
We know that a generation of Hampshire residents has grown up enjoying our six parks, with many volunteering their own time to help support them. That is why an investment package of just under £13 million over the next five years will be used to enhance facilities at the parks and make the most of their natural features. This is to help ensure they continue to be enjoyed by future generations, and remain at the heart of their communities. Making the most of the outdoors also brings physical and mental health benefits.
Getting the best from the glasshouses at Staunton, will bring its Regency history to life. At Lepe we are creating a new, state-of-the-art visitor complex that maximises its coastal location.
At Manor Farm we would like to build on the success of the Wartime Farm, extending it into the park, showcasing farming from the1850s to the 1950s. At Royal Victoria Country Park, we will be creating new exhibitions and events in the Chapel to highlight the park’s history.
The South Downs National Park and the Forestry Commission are working with us to enhance Queen Elizabeth Country Park, giving better access to trails to explore the woods and downland. Finally, at Titchfield Haven, the café will be enhanced and the trails extended around the reserve.
Visitor information will be improved at each park, enabling people to understand the history, landscape and archaeology, like never before.