Flying the ‘Green Flag’ - Hampshire Country Parks officially among the best in the world
All five of Hampshire County Council’s country parks are officially among the best in the world, with each today awarded an internationally recognised Green Flag for 2021.
Lepe, Staunton, River Hamble, Royal Victoria and Queen Elizabeth Country Parks have all gained Green Flag status. Staunton and Royal Victoria have also scooped Green Heritage Accreditation for the management of these sites’ unique historic features.
Councillor Edward Heron, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage and Rural Affairs, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that each of our Country Parks has gained this prestigious mark of quality. Green Flags are a clear signal to the public that these sites meet the highest possible environmental standards, are beautifully maintained and have top-notch visitor facilities. It’s also fantastic that Staunton and Royal Victoria have been recognised for their work to conserve the heritage of these special sites. I’d like to thank all the staff and volunteers who have worked so hard to make this all possible.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has really underlined the value of outdoor space to mental wellbeing, health and fitness and we’ve seen record numbers of visitors to our country parks over this time.”
The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world. Green Heritage Site Accreditation, supported by Historic England, is awarded for the management of historic features.
In celebration of this year’s announcement, the historic Chapel at Royal Victoria Country Park will be 'going green' tonight as part of Green Flag's national light up of monuments and landmarks #GoGreenForParks.
Each of Hampshire’s five country parks offers something unique:
Lepe Country Park on the coast of the New Forest has been improved with a new café and visitor centre offering views of the Solent and Isle of Wight, a sensory garden, improved landscaping and better car parking.
Queen Elizabeth Country Park, near Petersfield, is Hampshire's biggest country park with more than 200 acres of woodland and downland. The park’s visitor centre has been transformed to include a bigger restaurant, more welcoming entrance, outdoor sheltered area and space for tourism-based businesses.
Royal Victoria Country Park, sits on the shores of Southampton Water, near Netley. The refurbishment of its historic Chapel, the only remaining part of what was once the world’s largest military hospital of its time, provides a popular historic attraction for visitors and further improvements are underway including the refurbishment and expansion of the Grade II listed café building.
River Hamble Country Park, near Bursledon, offers walking, cycling and horse riding in the woods and along the banks of the River Hamble. The ongoing transformation of this park will see a new visitor centre, improved play equipment and better paths and trail signage to attract more families and make it more accessible.
Staunton Country Park, near Havant, offers the perfect venue for keen walkers, cyclists and anglers. The country park has recently completed a major refurbishment which has created a new visitor centre and café in the Victorian Coachhouse and provided improved car parking. The heritage features of the Georgian landscape have also been restored.