All five of Hampshire County Council’s country parks are officially among the best in the world, with each being awarded an internationally recognised Green Flag for 2021.

Queen Elizabeth Country Park between Petersfield and Clanfield, Lepe, Staunton, River Hamble, and Royal Victoria Parks have all gained Green Flag status.

Staunton and Royal Victoria have also scooped Green Heritage Accreditation for the management of these sites’ unique historic features.

Councillor Edward Heron, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage and Rural Affairs, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that each of our Country Parks has gained this prestigious mark of quality.

"Green Flags are a clear signal to the public that these sites meet the highest possible environmental standards, are beautifully maintained and have top-notch visitor facilities.

"It’s also fantastic that Staunton and Royal Victoria have been recognised for their work to conserve the heritage of these special sites.

"I’d like to thank all the staff and volunteers who have worked so hard to make this all possible.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has really underlined the value of outdoor space to mental wellbeing, health and fitness and we’ve seen record numbers of visitors to our country parks over this time.”

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world. Green Heritage Site Accreditation, supported by Historic England, is awarded for the management of historic features.