Itchen Valley Country Park Scoops National Green Space Award
Eastleigh Borough's flagship country park has scooped its first ever national 'Green Flag' award by being judged as among the best in the country. Itchen Valley Country Park at West End has received a prestigious 'Green Flag Award' that recognises the excellent facilities, and high standards of management of its green spaces and amenities at the 440 acre site.
The park comprises an important mix of water meadows, ancient woodland, and conifer plantations and provides a wide range of informal recreation opportunities whilst enhancing and conserving wildlife/habitats and includes a educational resource, visitor centre, shop and café. The award was presented by TV presenter Michaela Strachan earlier this month in the presence of 1,500 people at the official Green Flag ceremony held at Bournemouth.
Commenting on the Award Rupert Kyrle, Chair of Hedge End West End and Botley Local Area Committee, said:
"We are delighted and thrilled to receive this award that is confirmation that this park has now, rightfully been formally recognised as a very special place for everyone to enjoy and cherish and firmly establishes itself as one of the real jewels in Eastleigh Borough Council's crown."
"It's been a real team effort and I would like thank all the countryside team for all the hard work and dedication they have shown. Thanks also to my fellow Councillors on Hedge End West End and Botley Local Area Committee and its Local Area Co-ordinator, Jon Riddell, for their support and commitment to the park and its promotion as a quality venue that residents and visitors can enjoy."
Local West End Councillor and Vice-Chair of HEWEB LAC, David Goodall also added:
"This is great recognition of the all the work the council and the countryside team in particular have put into improving the park over the past few years. And I know talking people in both West End and the wider Southampton area their efforts are also appreciated by the public as well."
This year the Local Area Committee has funded a number of improvements to the Country Park, including a new outdoor arena area, improvements to the woodland classroom, a dedicated disposable BBQ area, new signage, way marking and notice boards and cycle parking provision.
The Green Flag awards are run by Keep Britain Tidy, Green Space and BTCV and is the national quality standard for parks and green space management. Eastleigh Borough Council's first success came when Brookwood Cemetery won their Green Flag in 2006.
The awards are supported by the Government and are an important element of a national commitment to encourage people to enjoy the nation's parks and green spaces.