A COUNTRY park has been voted as one of the best in the country.

Itchen Valley Country Park has once again been awarded the Keep Britain Tidy charity's Green Flag Award.

This is said to show to visitors that the park is well maintained and run to the 'highest possible standards with excellent facilities'.

The park is operated by the council and is in its second decade of success in the scheme, which is a nationally recognised mark of quality.

Chair of the Hedge End, West End & Botley Local Area Committee, Councillor Cynthia Garton, said: "With the stresses and restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, our country parks have taken on a new importance in promoting health and wellbeing among Eastleigh Borough residents.

"The Itchen Valley team can be hugely proud of their repeated success in winning this award, which reflects their hard work and expertise in very difficult circumstances.

"Once again, we’re very grateful to Keep Britain Tidy for this recognition."

The 440-acre park features meadows and woodland and offers a range of waymarked trails and recently opened a new café, indoor play area and revamped outdoor play trail.

It also offers picnic tables and barbecue sites and the Go Ape treetops adventure is also based there.

This year, a record 2,000 sites have received the Green Flag award.

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive, Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, said: "This year, more than ever, our parks and green spaces have been a lifeline and we know that millions of people have used them to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.

"It is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff and volunteers that, despite the challenges, Itchen Valley Country Park has achieved the highest international standards demanded by the Green Flag Award."