Stour Valley Park


Get involved in the future of the park at: – engagement events are taking place in early February 2021.


The Stour Valley Park has been the topic of much discussion for many years in South East Dorset. An Evidence and Opportunities Study was prepared for South East Dorset Green Infrastructure Steering Group by Land Use Consultants in February 2010 which identified the Stour Valley as a unique opportunity to alleviate pressures on the NHS, roads and other public services in addition to improving social mobility, tourism, river management and the natural environment. The Stour Valley Way is a 64 mile long distance walk along the River Stour, running through Dorset from the river’s source at Stourhead (a National Trust owned site in Wiltshire) to the river’s end at Christchurch. The route is of varying quality with substantial scope for improvements in accessibility and connectivity for user groups.

The project is a partnership between: BCP Council, Bournemouth Parks Foundation, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth Water, Dorset Council, Dorset Local Nature Partnership, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, National Trust, Natural England, RSPB, Stour Catchment Initiative and Wessex Water.

The Vision

The Vision is for an innovative, sustainable and high quality regional park in the Stour Valley that is easily accessible, with a rich and thriving biodiversity, offering recreational, landscape, heritage, cultural and resource management benefits in which local communities, landowners and businesses can take pride and ownership.

The Stour Valley Park vision is:

  • an effective and inclusive governance structure, enabling a strong partnership at its core to develop creative and innovative approaches to the Park’s long-term resourcing and management;
  • a celebration of its distinctive historic, landscape and ecological character
  • represents the diversity of its local communities, engaging them at all stages of its development and providing them with an open space resource that improves their quality of life;
  • a best practice model for utilising the potential of an extensive open space network in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change;
  • rich in biodiversity with a healthy and thriving river providing a living landscape that is accessible to all;
  • an opportunity for growth, with a distinct identity that is able to attract and retain competitive rural and urban businesses and a skilled workforce;
  • a social enterprise / charitable model able to attract philanthropic investment
  • integrated into public transport links, facilitating a thriving business environment and engaging people to choose car-free travel alternatives;
  • with a rich and unique heritage contributing to a brand that boosts all aspects of development and tourism, facilitates business growth and encourages a shared community identity;
  • an offer of a vibrant mix of leisure and recreation activities and volunteering opportunities that attract all members of the community
  • Appealing for marketing/branding as a new regional destination with identifiable gateways (visitor centres, information points etc).

Download the Stour Valley Park Leaflet and Map

For more information contact: