A Hampshire village is celebrating after preserving an 18-acre field.

Twyford residents and parish councillors gathered at Berry Meadow marking the end of more than three years’ hard work.

The field was previously owned by Bishopstoke Fishing Club and is used for grazing and dog walking.

Former parish councillor Alan Meikle said the council was keen to buy the field when it was put on sale in 2009 but did not think they had time to get the money together.

He said: “The meadow was being sold and some of us were a bit concerned about who might buy it. A group of 60 residents clubbed together to put up the money and gave the parish council three years to buy it back.

“A company was formed called Berry Meadow Ltd and if the parish council changed its mind or could not raise the cash, the company would sell and pay back the lenders from the proceeds.”

The council raised around £40,000 from fundraisers and an appeal while the rest came from developers’ contributions, grants and public works loans.

Mr Meikle, 75, of Roman Road, said: “The field is very popular with local dog walkers and we get several hundred visitors a day in the summer so we wanted to preserve it.”

Chris Corcoran, 72, of Finch’s Lane, added: “To have a field with grazing cattle and sheep in the middle of a village is a great privilege and very rare. We are very happy and this shows just how much local people value the meadow.”