The 200-hectare Alver Valley Country Park is sandwiched between the urban areas of Gosport and Lee-on-the Solent.
It is an attractive greenspace where wildlife thrives.
This Country Park was identified as a potential place people could visit as an alternative to the coast. However parking facilities and the welcome for visitors needed improvement.
Bird Aware Solent helped to secure £205k from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to increase parking and to help create an identity for the site, with well-designed gateway signs and interpretation.
Gosport Borough Council and conservation groups have further developed the site for visitors by adding visitor facilities including an extensive playground, toilets and a refreshment kiosk, and have more plans for enhancing the visitor experience.
The success of this site is twofold:
- It is an asset to those who regularly use it – visitor numbers have risen by 70% on the last six years and 80% of visitors to Alver Country Park are dog walkers
- It is a valuable tool in reducing coastal visits in an area supporting high numbers of protected birds – it is estimated that the park is
deflecting over 1,300 would be coastal visits per week during the winter months.