A LARGE area of a popular Hampshire country park has been “completely destroyed” by fire.

Fire and rescue services rushed to the scene of the blaze at Lakeside Country Park.

A crew of eight firefighters battled to put out a 50-square-metre area of grassland which had caught alight.

What was a green and welcoming meadow for wildlife was left charred and lifeless

The fire brigade received the emergency call at 11.23am on Monday with a stop message coming in just after midday.

Lakeside Country Park is described on its website as “the perfect space to escape the hustle of urban living”. It boasts 22-hectares of lakes, meadow and woodland and has a diverse range of wildlife including birds, insects, deer, foxes and bats.

The cause of the fire is not being treated as suspicious and no one was injured during the incident.

A wildfire warning was issued ahead of the August bank holiday weekend which was the hottest on record.

It came from the South East branch of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), who represent landowners in the region. Bosses at the regional CLA have called on the public to take extra care in the countryside as warm, dry conditions can elevate the chances of wildfires. And they are warning the public not to discard cigarettes and litter which could spark a “devastating” wildfire. They add that glass bottles and shards of broken glass can spark fires by reflecting sunlight.