A new country park in Hook has been taken over by the Hart District Council.

Whitewater Meadows that runs alongside the River Whitewater in Hook has been taken over by the Hart District Council in an attempt to improve the wildlife area and attract more visitors from the communities.

The council said the new site is a welcoming place to take the dog for a walk, ride bikes, picnic or somewhere to watch wildlife. It further said the river and ponds, hedgerows and wildflowers are a haven for wildlife attracting many species of birds, invertebrates and mammals.

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.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Open area in Whitewater MeadowOpen area in Whitewater Meadow

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.

Basingstoke Gazette: Whitewater River and bench located in White water MeadowWhitewater River and bench located in White water Meadow

A spokesperson for Hart District Council said the 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.

There will be a natural play area that will be interactive and accessible by all and information boards about the nature. There will also be a Countryside Ranger presence and opportunities to join in guided activities and to learn more about nature.

A spokesperson from Hook Parish Council said: “We 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 per cent 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.”