More than 1,830 UK parks and green spaces – a record number - will be flying the Green Flag Award this year, and Itchen Valley Country Park, which is operated by Eastleigh Borough Council, is celebrating a decade of success in the scheme, which is a nationally recognised mark of quality.
The award, now it its 22nd year, is run by the Keep Britain Tidy charity: a green flag flying from a pole is a sign to visitors that a park is well maintained and run to the highest possible standards, with excellent facilities.
Itchen Valley Country Park is 440-acres of water meadows, woodland and meadows offering a wealth of waymarked trails. The park is about to open a new café, indoor play area and revamped outdoor play trail. It also offers picnic tables and barbecue sites, making it a perfect destination for a family day out. The Go Ape treetops adventure is also based in the park.
Chair of the Hedge End, West End & Botley Local Area Committee, Councillor Cynthia Garton, said: “Our country parks are hugely important in promoting health and biodiversity in our borough. Receiving a Green Flag Award for ten years in a row is an enormous achievement and reflects the hard work and expertise of the Itchen Valley Country Park team. With new improvements about to be unveiled, including an exciting new café and indoor play area, we’re confident that the park will be an even bigger favourite with resident and visitors. We’re very grateful to Keep Britain Tidy for a decade of recognition.”
Keep Britain Tidy’s International Green Flag Award scheme manager, Paul Todd, said: “It has been a record-breaking year for Green Flag Awards, and it’s fantastic to see such a diverse range of locations have been recognised. We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in the UK for people to experience, and encourage the public to head outdoors, explore their local area and find even more unexpected green spaces they can enjoy.”
Photo caption: Kim Peters, Helen Meade and Rachel Hardy join Councillor Cynthia Garton (second from left) to unfurl the Park's tenth Green Flag.