Stay Local: Green spaces open for visitors

March 04, 2021

With lockdown restrictions gradually easing throughout the month, we will all be keeping our socialising outdoors. If you’ve exhausted your familiar routes, we’ve picked our personal favourite outdoor spaces to explore, allowing you to stay local this month.

Elvetham Heath Nature Reserve

Situated in Fleet, this 48-acre nature reserve was given the remarkable Green Flag award and features across wetlands, heathland, and woodland. The reserve is accessible to all, with pathways and boardwalks ideal for pushchairs, wheelchairs, and cyclists. Whilst certain areas are currently utilizing a one-way system, many enjoy wide open spaces perfect for socially distanced catch-ups. The reserve supports a broad range of wildlife, with information boards to aid identification.

The Vyne, Sherbourne St. John

The lovely gardens of this popular National Trust Tudor Manor are open to visitors now, with just the need to book in advance. Explore sprawling, cultivated grounds leading to wetlands with a rich biodiversity of birdlife. Circular woodland paths with beech and poplar trees offer a lovely peaceful setting, ideal for letting the children let off steam.

Hook Common and Bartley Heath

Enjoy outdoor space of 123 hectares consisting of heathland, grassland, and woodland. A wide variety of wildlife can be seen here, with nesting birds, butterflies, newts, and frogs along with rare fauna and flora. Whilst the bird hides and office are currently closed, the reserve is open for locals to enjoy.

Queen Elizabeth Park

Right at the heart of Farnborough, this local heritage park normally offers great play areas and exercise equipment. Whilst these are currently out of use, the green space still provides a really nice place to enjoy an outdoor catch-up. Originally a substantial private estate, the green space attracts much wildlife. Features include well-established woodlands, a pond, and rhododendrons, with particularly vibrant colours this time of year. Car parks on Cabol and Farnborough Road both provide access to the park.

Yateley Common Country Park

This picturesque common offers 193 hectares of woodland, heathland, and ponds, ideal for leisurely strolls with the family, horseriding and cycling, as well as fishing and bird watching. Parts of the common are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area (SPA), supporting the rich biodiversity of wildlife, including birds and reptiles. 

Alice Holt Forest

This adventure park can easily entertain a family all day. Naturally, at the moment the play equipment is restricted, but there are still numerous nature trails, ideal for allowing the children to work off some energy, including the popular Gruffalo trail. The trails are designed to meet the needs of all, with some shorter for small legs to cope and others lengthy, perfect for cycling, horse riding, and jogging. Scenic woodland, old and new, sports a rich variety of trees, whilst the walkways available include many well-suited to wheelchairs and pushchairs. Parking is available on site, with toilet facilities currently observing Covid safety guidelines, but still open! Given the popularity of the Forest, we’d personally strongly recommend avoiding peak times, but off-peak it is a very peaceful, enjoyable outdoor escape.

Hazeley Heath

If you are looking for genuine peace and quiet, then this nature reserve in Hartley Wintney is just right. Consisting mainly of low-lying heathland, this nature reserve supports such a vast variety of wildlife, including rare birds, from nightjars to woodlarks, and many butterflies. It is designated a Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Wherever you intend to spend your long-awaited meeting with family and friends once the lockdown measures begin to live, remember to observe the Covid safety guidelines, including the local travel restrictions, and take care!

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