Valley Park Woodlands Local Nature Reserve
Valley Park Woodlands are located North of Chilworth and East of Chandlers Ford in the South of the Borough of Test Valley. The five separate woodlands surround a large housing development making it ideally situated for educational visits as well as recreation.
All of the woodlands that make up the site are recorded on the Natural England Register of Ancient Semi Natural Woodland in Hampshire. These ancient woodlands which cover approximately 40 hectares feature a mix of restored coppice, woodland rides, open glades, ponds and rough grassland. Managed by Test Valley Borough Council since 1998. Two of the woodlands, Zionshill Copse and Little Covert were designated a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in 2002, with the remainder of the site achieving LNR status in 2009. In 2010 Valley Park Woodlands LNR was awarded highly coveted Green Flag status.
The primary aims of the management of Valley Park Woodlands are:
Conservation - the woods are a valuable resource of flora and fauna. Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW) is locally and nationally important. Active management will be sympathetic to existing habitats whilst creating new ones to enhance the conservation value of the site.
Recreation - due to the proximity of the housing development to the woodland, pressure is expected to be great. The site is well used by local residents for dog walking. It is vital that the woodland habitats are not degraded by public access and are protected with the use of bylaws and education.
Historically the woodlands formed part of the New Forest and through development and forest clearance is now an important relic of the past. Various upstanding archaeological structures still exist which are classed as nationally important and for which Scheduled Ancient Monument Status will be sought from English Heritage.
The woodlands are as rich in wildlife as they are in history and archaeology, with bluebells and early purple orchids blooming through the spring and summer feeding a variety of insects, birds and mammals.
Activities and events
A programme of Activities has been planned for 2018. See the attached Countryside Events and Activities leaflet.
Useful to Know
Valley Park Woodlands Local Nature Reserve, Skyswood Road, Valley Park, SO53 4SJ.
Main car park is adjacent to Knightwood Leisure Centre.
Lifebelts, which are inspected weekly, are strategically placed around the three balancing ponds on this site.
For more information about the Reserve or if you would like to get involved with any events or activities join the Friends of the Parks please contact the Countryside Officers on 01264 368000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org