A NUMBER of Hampshire parks have been recognised as part of the UK's best green spaces.

Both St James’ Park in Shirley and Riverside Park in Bitterne Park have been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as being amongst the best in the world.

Lepe Country Park in Exbury, River Hamble park, Queen Elizabeth and Royal Victoria Country Parks in Netley were also awarded for the highest possible environmental standards.

Royal Victoria Country Park has also received the much-coveted Green Heritage Site Accreditation for the management of its historic features.

The parks are among a record-breaking 1,970 UK parks and green spaces that received a prestigious Green Flag Award– the mark of a quality park or green space.

Councillor Seán Woodward, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for recreation and heritage, said: We’re delighted that our popular country parks have once again been recognised as world class open spaces for people to enjoy.

"Green Flag Awards are hard earned and are only given to the best green spaces across the globe."

Cllr Jacqui Rayment, cabinet member for place and transport at SCC added: “We are absolutely delighted to receive a Green Flag Award for our parks again this year."

“We have invested a lot of money in our parks, the refurbishment of the play area at St James’ Park completed earlier this year and provides a great space for kids to get outdoors and to learn about the environment.

"All of our parks are enjoyed by both our residents and visitors, we know having these open spaces makes a difference to everyone.

This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

St James' Park and Riverside Park were awarded for their "unique character" and community lead friends groups at the heart of their management.