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Case study: Alver Valley Country Park SANG

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.

The opportunity

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.

A dog enjoying Alver Valley Country Park

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 results

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.

“This gateway project has enabled the increased use of the Alver Valley Country Park as a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) to deflect recreational pressure from internationally important bird habitats in the Solent area”.

Jayson Grygiel, Gosport Borough Council