In 2006 the Parish Council was gifted a 35-acre site consisting of 6 large agricultural fields by John Gosney, a local farmer. The site is now been developed into a public open space so local residents and its wildlife can enjoy it.
The site is bordered by ancient woodland to the northeast, it has a high ridge running across it affording extensive views towards the Isle of Wight to the south and the Itchen valley to the west. This area is a haven for wildlife, deer and birds of prey are a common sight and there is also evidence of badger activity.
The main access to the park is from White Tree Close, where a car park is open from 8am to 4.30pm (Nov-April) and closing at 9.30 in the summer. A second car park can be accessed via Knowle Lane, opening hours from 8.10am until 4.30pm (9.30pm summer weekends). There are 5 other pedestrian access points including kissing gates at ‘The Beeches’ and at Knowle Lane.
Now that the park is fully developed the two communities have a green space to be proud of and it provides a rural buffer between the two villages. We have planted over 7000 trees, a skate park has been installed and a playground has been constructed with Lottery funding. The allotment site at Knowle Lane has been open for approximately two years now and we have reserved a piece of land next to it to build a new cemetery, but this won’t be required for some time yet.
The Council received a very generous grant from ‘The Veolia Environmental Trust’, so these extensive developments could take place. Over a kilometre of paths have been laid, so most places are accessible throughout the year. A pond with a boardwalk has been built, and an old silted up marsh area cleared, with a dipping platform installed. These will become valuable habitats for aquatic animals and plants.
The viewing mound has an orientation plinth around the old triangulation pillar and there are plenty of benches throughout the park so you can relax and enjoy the surroundings. Three reptile hibernacula provide homes to common lizards and we are creating wildflower meadows in Twynam Field. Please note that cattle will be grazed here in the Spring and Autumn as part of the managment of the site. Hopefully the flowers will spread out to other areas of the park. We have planted 15,000 snowdrops along the 'Lime Avenue'. This will create a stunning display in the Spring.
What to see this month - monthly nature notes