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Green Flag Award being celebrated in Romsey’s War Memorial Park.

Work pays off for council’s countryside team.

Three Test Valley parks have won a coveted national prize of a Green Flag Award from UK charity Keen Britain Tidy.

Romsey’s War Memorial Park, Rooksbury Mill in Andover and Valley Park have all been awarded the prize. The scheme, which is celebrating 25 years as the international quality mark for parks, announced the 2021 awards last month.

More so than ever before, green spaces in the borough have been of significant importance to residents and visitors. Lockdown gave an opportunity for communities to prioritise spending time outdoors in the fresh air, with many exploring new spaces and even discovering the beauty of Test Valley for the first time. Green spaces in Test Valley have provided the space to breathe and reset during challenging times and, never more than this year have they deserved to be acknowledged for their management.

Keeping in touch with nature remains a part of many people’s everyday life. Now, the importance of taking a break and enjoying a change of scenery, even if it’s a simple walk through the park to notice the colours of the leaves changing, is recognised. More than ever before, communities are making the most of what’s on their doorstep.

Climate change and countryside portfolio holder, councillor Alison Johnston, said: “Access to high quality, diverse open spaces and Nature plays such an important part of our wellbeing, and we are all aware of how fortunate we are to have beautiful green space in which to reflect, exercise, explore, appreciate and be with our friends and family.

“Our parks are a haven not just for us but a home for our local wildlife too. These awards are a testament to officers at the council who work tirelessly to ensure our green spaces are looked after and protected throughout the year, working with nature to release its full potential.”

Portfolio holder for community, leisure and tourism, councillor David Drew, said: “Yet again, green spaces in the borough managed by the council have been acknowledged by Keep Britain Tidy’s Green Flag Awards.

“The borough’s green spaces are truly spectacular. The council prioritises time and funds to ensure that these spaces are carefully maintained.”

Next time you are in need of fresh air, why not explore Memorial Park, Rooksbury Mill and Valley Park in Test Valley? Find parking information and walking routes at