Hart District Council has just taken ownership of a new country park at Whitewater Meadows, running alongside the River Whitewater in Hook.
The new site is a welcoming place to take the dog for a walk, ride bikes, picnic or somewhere to watch wildlife. The river and ponds, hedgerows and wildflowers are a haven for wildlife attracting many species of birds, invertebrates and mammals.
Having taken ownership, the council’s ambition is to continue to improve the wildlife in the area, as well as widening the community facilities available, making it an even more beautiful open space, for Hart’s communities.
There will be a natural play area that will be interactive and accessible by all and information boards about the nature, that are original and inspiring. There will also be a Countryside Ranger presence and opportunities to join in guided activities and to learn more about nature.
Speaking about the country park, Cllr David Neighbour, Leader of Hart District Council, said: “A visit to a Hart Countryside site is a special experience and we pride ourselves on delivering an excellent service for our visitors. Our Countryside Rangers will manage this site for the benefit and enjoyment of the local community with the aim to help improve local health and wellbeing. We look forward to working with Hook Parish Council to make this a space something for everyone to enjoy.”
Whitewater Meadows is classed as a Site of Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) and is approximately 12.19ha. At present, the SANG area is predominately comprised of arable habitat including hedgerow networks, parcels of scattered and dense scrub, marshy grassland and ditch systems.
A spokesperson from Hook Parish Council, said: “Hook Parish Council welcome this new addition that complements our existing SANG (Bassett’s Mead), other parks and spaces that surround Hook. Both SANGS run alongside the River Whitewater which is a chalk stream. Of approximately 200 chalk streams worldwide, 85% of them run through the English countryside. Having this important but rare habitat right on our doorstep is very special. We look forward to seeing the enhancements that Hart will make over the coming years for our residents and wildlife to use and enjoy.”
For more information about the Council’s countryside service, please visit www.hart.gov.uk/countryside-nature