Southwood Country Park

A 57-hectare area of natural green open space in Farnborough.

Proposed café at new visitor centre - lease opportunity

As part of our overall vision for the country park, we are proposing to adapt the former clubhouse to create a new visitor centre. This would include a commercial café alongside it.

We intend to offer the café premises on a commercial lease and are therefore inviting interest from commercial café operators with experience in running café facilities at country parks.

We will be offering the successful tenant the opportunity to inform the configuration of the café layout and external covered seating areas so they meet their operational requirements.

The closing date for submissions of interest is Friday 8 October.

You can find more information in our pdf icon Proposed cafe at new visitor centre, Southwood Country Park [778kb] document .

You can also contact Andrew Higgitt, our Principal Property Asset Surveyor, at or for more details.

About Southwood Country Park

The first phase of the country park (western side) opened in September 2019.

Covering more than 30 hectares, it offers a network of formal and informal paths, with a 2.4 kilometre circular walking route, starting from the 31-space Kennels Lane car park. There is dog-proof fencing along the boundaries of Ively Road.

The second phase, which includes the former golf club car park at Ively Road, opened in December 2019 and offers access to a further 27 hectares of natural land opened up on the eastern side of the country park.

Southwood Country ParkSouthwood Country ParkSouthwood Country ParkSouthwood Country Park

Future plans for the country park

Our future plans could include:

  • Creating a visitor centre, café, public toilets and rangers' office, either using the existing buildings or as part of a new building
  • A pedestrian crossing on Ively Road
  • Creating a playground constructed from natural materials
  • A fenced dog exercise area
  • Cycle paths
  • Creation of focal points
  • Educational aids, such as a pond dipping platform and bird hides that schools, clubs and local people can use to study wildlife
  • Naturalising Cove Brook and the Marrow and Ively streams and re-creating floodplain meadow, copses and hedgerows

We will be holding a public engagement event later on in the year to get your views on our plans for the next phase of the Southwood Country Park.  We will be updating this web page soon with further details.

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.

Background to Southwood Country Park

The country park is what is known as Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) and is the former Southwood Golf Course.

As Rushmoor sits within five kilometres of the Thames Basin Heaths special protection area, which protects ground-nesting birds,  housing developers must, by law, provide, or contribute towards, alternative green space for their residents to use before the council can grant them planning permission.

Being a SANG means the land is permanently protected as green public open space, so it could never be built on. It also means that we would use developers' contributions to pay for its creation and upkeep.

Map of west side

Map of west side of Southwood Country Park Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Location of west car park

Southern end of Kennels Lane
Off Ively Road

Map of east side

Map of eastside of Southwood country park Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Location of east car park

Ively Road

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Parks and play areas
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