Proposals for the creation of a new nature park at Throop taking shape

Proposals to create an exciting new Nature Park providing green space for local families and residents to reconnect with nature have been put forward for an area of land in Throop, Bournemouth.

Spanning c.12 hectares of green space the Throop Nature Park will offer people more opportunity to get outside and explore the great outdoors, meet up with friends and family, and improve their health and wellbeing.

As part of the plans, the Nature Park will help to boost the local wildlife population by restoring lost hedgerows to improve wildlife habitats for birds, bats, insects and other small animals, as well as protect local wildlife from disturbance. The council will be extending riverside fencing to create a sanctuary for the otter population that use this stretch of the River Stour and species rich grasslands will be restored through carefully managed cattle grazing.

As well as creating more green space for people to visit, being outside in nature is also known to improve people’s mental and physical health.

Councillor Mark Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Cleansing and Waste commented:

“Getting outside in our parks and open spaces has never been more important to people’s wellbeing than it is now. Being outdoors, breathing in fresh air, getting exercise and enjoying everything that nature has to offer can all have a positive effect on people’s mental and physical health, which is essential going forward.

“We’re hugely proud of the 24 Green Flags we’ve been awarded across our conurbation which is the international mark of quality for well managed parks and green spaces, and sets the benchmark standard for the management of these outdoor spaces. We want to build on this success and create even more green spaces for our residents to enjoy. In order to promote good health and a resilient population we want to encourage more residents to enjoy the outdoors more often and for longer. By providing this new Nature Park we will be not only be investing in the health of our communities, but also in the health of our environment.”

Designed to help alleviate pressure upon sensitive heathland habitats, the Throop Nature Park will help to protect important species found within our internationally designated heathland nature reserves by creating an additional green space for residents to go out in. The park will also link up with Stour Valley Nature Reserve, generating miles of green open spaces for everyone to explore in nature. It will also feature circular walks, space for families to explore and get back to nature, and places for dogs to exercise. In a local consultation exercise 87% of respondents wanted to see improved habitats for wildlife and 71% wanted more opportunities for visitors.

Councillor Philip Broadhead, Deputy Leader & Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning, BCP Council commented:

“We are delighted to be driving forward our plans to enhance our region’s green spaces. At Throop we have the ideal opportunity to protect the natural environment and create a space where families and local people can get back to nature and enjoy the outdoors.

“We want to create a coastline of opportunity across the conurbation and if approved, this nature park will hugely benefit our local area and strengthen our commitment to our local communities and the quality of life we all enjoy. Creating this enhanced, easily accessible green space will help not only improve people’s mindset going forward but help with our fulfilled lives pledge to promote a happy, active and healthy community. We are proud of our neighbourhoods and want to create sustainable green spaces for future generations to enjoy and thrive in them.”

These new plans for a Nature Park replace previous work that was undertaken to create a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace at Hicks Farm. The council needs to create more green spaces across the conurbation in order to meeting local housing targets. Not only does this area offer the best location to mitigate pressure on local heathlands, but it also provides greater access to green spaces in an area where demand is high.

To find out more, please visit Throop Nature Park website.