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Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Wednesday, April 29 2015

Visiting Itchen Valley Country Park

Itchen Valley Country Park  

Allington Lane, West End, Southampton SO30 3HQ

Telephone: 023 8068 8444


Itchen Valley MapHow to find us

Nearest junctions on the M27 are Junction 5 from the west or Junction 7 from the east.

Follow the brown tourist signs to the Park on the A27 (towards West End) from either direction.

Opening times
The Park gates open at 8.30am every day and close at 7.00pm during GMT and 9.30pm during BST.

Car Parking Charges
Although there is no admission fee to the Park or Visitor Centre, there is a fee for car parking. Scale of charges is as shown below:


Scale of charges: Cars and Minibuses (No charge for motorcycles or blue badge holders)

                     Charges apply every day  (including Bank Holidays)
                                           Up to 1 hour  -   £1.00
                                          1-4 Hours       -   £2.40
                                          Over 4 hours  -   £3.80
                              Coach Parking: £17.00 per day

Are you aware that you can purchase an Annual/Seasonal Parking Permit?
Annual permits cost £41.00 (over 60's £28.50); Seasonal (4 month) permits cost £15.25 (over 60's £10.90)

High Wood Barn Visitor Centre and Café
The Visitor Centre was built in 1990 in the style of a 17th Century Hampshire Aisle Barn. It is constructed using the traditional methods of that period, from timber brought down on the Beaulieu estate during the 1987 storms.

The centre houses a gift shop and various interactive displays. Ice creams, snacks and hot and cold drinks can be purchased from the Woodland Café.
Opening Times:
 April - August: Every day 10.30am - 5pm.

September: Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Open 10.30am - 5pm on other weekdays and Weekends.

October - March:  Weekends and school holidays ONLY. 10.30am - 4.30pm.


Our 1-mile Forest Trail is accessible by all and an electric scooter  is available to borrow from the Visitor Centre.

There is a wheelchair accessible toilet and the Visitor Centre, shop and cafe are all on ground floor level.

Netmums runner up

Netmums runner up

We were delighted to hear the news that Itchen Valley Country Park has won the runner up spot for the Netmums outdoor play award for the South-East region for 2014.

Read here to find out more.

Children at Itchen Valley Country Park  

For children and families

Play Areas
For the children we have a play area suitable for under nines which is situated directly behind the visitor centre and a larger, adventure style play area for fourteen years and under which can be found on High Hill Field.

Connecting the two is the Play Trail (suitable for pushchairs), which is made up of a series of animal sculptures (designed by local sculptor, Andy Frost) for children to play on.

There are regular activities provided for children so keep an eye on our events page.

If you want the freedom of moving at your own pace but having a focus there are a variety of self-led trails including the Ollie Owl Trail, brass-rubbing trail, orienteering course, Nature Detectives trail and our 2 mile Totem Trail. For more details talk to the Information Assistant.

We have two permanent orienteering courses for the more adventurous to try. The short course is 1.3km in length and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete, whilst the long course is 3.5km in length and takes approximately 1 hour 20 minutes to complete. Each course is designed so that you don't need a compass, although if you have one, you are more than welcome to use it! Orienteering packs (including full instructions) are available from the Visitor Centre and cost £1.

Pond Dipping - Dipping Ponds closed

Sadly, due to an problem with an invasive weed in both our dipping ponds during 2013, the ponds had to be closed. They will remain closed throughout 2015 as there are still signs that the weed is present. Find out more about the problem on our news page.

Go Ape logo



Go Ape!

The UK’s No.1 Tree Top Adventure is now open at Itchen Valley Country Park

Take to the trees and speed down zip slides. They’re part of an exciting course of rope bridges, Tarzan swings and crossings; all set high above the forest floor.

Go Ape offers two to three hours of tree top fun. It’s a great way to get outdoors and have some fun. We take one lush, green forest and a healthy dollop of breathtaking scenery; blend with a smattering of tree-top high wires, tricky crossings (using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire) and wind-in-your-face zip wires; and finish off with a liberal dose of people in search of their inner Tarzan.

Can I Go Ape?

Minimum Age - 10yrs

Minimum Height - 1.4m (4ft7")

Maximum weight - 20.5 stones (130kg)

For information about the Go Ape! course at Itchen Valley Country Park, please visit the Go Ape!  website


Doggie Stuff

Dogs are welcome at Itchen Valley Country Park and may be let off the lead on all parts of High Hill Field (the large recreation field at the top of the main driveway).

Owners are still expected to keep their dog under control at all times. Please remember that what you view as "friendly" behaviour from your dog may be viewed as unwanted attention or threatening behaviour to others!

Dogs must be kept on a lead in all other areas, including the woodland trails and in the nature reserves.

Dogs (except guide dogs) are not allowed in the visitor centre, cafe or play areas.

The entire Park is covered by a "poop-scoop" bye-law, which means that you must pick up after your dog in all areas. Dog bins are situated behind the visitor centre and around the edge of High Hill Field. Please use them - nobody likes to see bags of dog waste tied in trees!


Bridle Route

Local horse riders are able to take advantage of the Park's licenced bridle route. Just over a mile in length, the bridle route is open only to riders for safety reasons, pedestrians and cyclists are excluded. Available on application, a year's licence costs £49.50.

 Bridleroute licence application form (Word)














Wheelie bin on fire

Off-Road Cycle Route

Cyclists young and old are welcome to bring their bikes to use our off-road cycle route which is approximately 1.5 miles long and runs through both woodland and open fields.



We have two permanent barbecues available for hire.


Disposable and Portable Barbecues

Disposable and portable barbecues are now banned from Itchen Valley Country Park.  Sadly this is due to irresponsible use by several groups of users who have shown a lack of respect for the Park, its staff, wildlife and other Park visitors.

The main issues are:

1. Risk of fire
Numerous smouldering barbecues have either been left on picnic tables or thrown into the hedgerows, causing a serious fire hazard. The picture shows what happened when a hot disposable bbq was thrown into our eurobin.

2. Littering
Despite the sign by the barbecue facilities asking that users take their litter home, huge piles of bbq rubbish are being dumped beside the dog bins, where it is an eye-sore to other visitors and poses a threat to dogs and wildlife, which will rip the bags open, making a mess. They can also choke on rubbish. Discarded wooden kebab skewers have proven particularly dangerous to dogs.

Unfortunately the picture below is a typical example of what is being left behind by barbecue users. Having brought the litter here in the first place, some barbecue users are refusing to behave responsibly and take it away again with them. It is the actions of these people that have lead to the ban on disposable and portable barbecues from the site.

Rubbish by dog bin


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