A 57-hectare area of natural green open space in Farnborough, with a café, field centre and playground.

Chalk in the Park café

The café at the field centre is open 7 days a week from 8am to 5pm. It sells hot drinks, pastries, baked goods and lunch.

Please visit the Chalk in the Park website for more information.

How to hire the field centre 

If you are part of a local group you can hire space in the field centre.

If you are interested in hiring it, please contact southwood@rushmoor.gov.uk or 01252 985 589 for more details. 

Location of the field centre and east car park

Ively Road

Location of west car park

Southern end of Kennels Lane
Off Ively Road

About Southwood Country Park

The park covers 57 hectares of open space and is split into two areas, the east and west sides.

The eastern side of the park covers 27 hectares of natural land including wetlands and the course of the Cove Brook. It also includes the café and field centre, a large playground and car park. There is a combination of older formal and informal paths. We plan to provide more formal paths, similar to the paths on the western side, as we develop the park. These constructed stone all-weather paths are designed for shared use for walking, cycling and to be more accessible if you have a disability.

Covering around 30 hectares, the west side of the park offers informal paths and a 2.4-kilometre formal circular route, linking the Kennels Lane car park with the café / field centre and a path to Southwood Woodland. This side is more characterised by wet grassland and wooded areas and with the neighbouring Southwood Woodland forms some of the headwaters for the Cove Brook with the tributary running along the northern boundary into the eastern side and the Cove Brook itself.

The site is attractive for dog walkers and links to the Southwood Woodland and neighbouring Hartland Country Park and onwards to Fleet Pond and the Basingstoke Canal allow for lengthy walks in a natural environment. We have given consideration towards the safety of dogs by providing dog-proof fencing, protecting boundaries of the park with roads and kissing gates at entrances.

The park is what is known as Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) and is the former Southwood Golf Course. Being a SANG means the land is permanently protected as green public open space, so it can never be built on.

Please see our Southwood Country Park - Draft Interim Management Plan for more information about what we are doing to look after the park. 

Environment Agency work at the park

Until September, the Environment Agency will be carrying out maintenance work along Cove Brook. They will install temporary fencing around working and access areas.

Southwood Country Park will remain open, except for working areas. The overflow car park at Southwood Country Park will be closed.

No road closures are planned, but contractors' vehicles will be accessing the working areas via Hazel Avenue from north to south only and from Cove Road. Parking on some parts of Hazel Avenue will need to be traffic light controlled at specific times.

The Environment Agency will be doing reinstatement and environmental improvements from October. 

For more details of the work please email: enquiries_THM@environment-agency.gov.uk.  

Esso pipeline work at the park

Part of Esso’s Southampton to London Pipeline Project to replace their aviation fuel pipeline crosses the western and eastern sections of the park. 

The work Esso is doing in the park continues. If you have any questions about the ESSO pipeline project, please contact them on info@slpproject.co.uk or 07925 068 905.

We are working with Esso to make sure they take account of existing habitats at Southwood Country Park and replace vegetation lost during the pipeline installation in line with our ecological management objectives for the park. 

Country park wildlife and ecology

Before the first phase opened, we asked the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to carry out wildlife surveys across the site.

The trust discovered large populations of slow worms and common lizards, smooth and palmate newts.

Five species of bats forage along the woodland edge and the waterways and wetland birds have started visiting the site.

The site is providing a very good habitat for invertebrates, with nine nationally-scarce, and two nationally-rare species, and the Small Heath butterfly, which is threatened in Britain.

We are also working with the Environment Agency on a study that will look at naturalising the Cove and Marrow Brooks which will improve water quality and provide greater flood protection, as well as improving the area for both wildlife and people.

Water quality

You may notice that some ditches within the park have some bright, rust-orange coloured water with floating material and an oily sheen. 

We have had the streams and ditches of the park tested for water quality. The ditches and streams are safe, with no toxicity risk to you or animals. The results showed that the water meets drinking water standards. 

What looks like it may be pollution, is natural, due to the make-up of the local soil. Surface water at the park is fed by groundwater spring lines from the heathland in the west. These soils are sandy and naturally mildly acidic. Acidic and sandy soils often have a higher iron content. Lower levels of oxygen in groundwater and higher levels of iron in soils can mean higher levels of iron-loving bacteria. You can see this in the floating rust-orange colour material and oily sheen in the ditches.

Map of west side

Map of the west side of Southwood Country Park

Map of east side

Map of the east side of Southwood Country Park

Contact us

Scroll to the top of the page