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Parks and Lakes around Gosport
Walpole Park

Walpole Park Gosport 01

Walpole Park was laid out in 1891 on a piece of land called the Horsefield. It was named after Thomas Walpole, rector of St Mary's Church, Alverstoke. Walpole Park is an amalgam of an open air venue for Fun Fairs, Circus' and occasional music festivals, combined with a boating lake (without boats) and an internationally recognised model boat racing venue, One of only two in the country

Swans at Walpole Park Gosport 01   Swans at Walpole Park Gosport 02   Swans at Walpole Park Gosport 03

Mute Swan (White Swan)( Cygnus olor )

Swans are the largest, and generally considered the most beautiful, of the waterfowl. The Mute Swan is one of 7 species of swan worldwide. Adult females weigh around 9kg, with males around 11kg, although weights of up to 15kg have been recorded.
A male is known as a cob, a female is a pen, and the young are called cygnets.
According to the magazine Wildlife Conservation, a swan can have 25,000 feathers.
These beautiful long necked birds will breed at 3 years of age having a clutch of 3 to 8 eggs, although larger clutches have been recorded. The gestation period is 35 days from the date of the last egg. During the incubation period the male becomes very territorial and will aggressively protect his mate. He will normally use his strong wings as a weapon instead of biting.
The cygnets are born with a grey downy plumage that eventually turns to white. They can fly in 3 to 4 months and generally stay with the parents until the next breeding season whey they are asked to leave. Mute Swans have been known to live for over 25 years, but most only survive to 5 or 6 years old. Many cygnets die in their first 12 months, often due to flying accidents.

Life Cycle
Mute Swans do not normally start to breed until they are at least 3 years old. Between March and May a huge nest is constructed, in which the pen lays a clutch of normally between 3 and 7 eggs (although as many as 13 have been recorded). The eggs are laid at 2 day intervals, with incubation starting with the last egg and taking 35 days. During the breeding season the male becomes very territorial and aggressive to any intruders. This behaviour has been known to extend to swans fighting to the death. They often threaten humans who venture too close to their nests while issuing a warning call. Although they can inflict a painful blow with their wings, contrary to popular belief they do not bite.
The cygnets when hatched are grey and downy, but this down is soon replaced by brown feathers, which gradually turn white during the next 12 months. The parent birds strongly protect their offspring for the first few months but will drive them away by the following breeding season.

The cygnets will normally join flocks of other non breeding swans, especially during the moulting season in July - August when they moult all their feathers and for a short time become flightless. Over the next two years the immature swans may start to form a pair bond with a mate and will look for a suitable territory on which to breed.

It is a popular misconception that Mute Swans pair for life and that a bird will pine to death when its partner dies. This is far from true, with some birds having as many as 4 mates in a life time, and in some cases actually 'divorcing' a mate in favour of a new one. There have even been incestuous relationships reported. However research does show that well established pairs tend to be more successful at raising their young.

The lake is divided in two by a wooden bridge. The side nearest the road has been used for years as a boating lake, but in recent years this usage has declined, and now it is a haven for many swans, ducks and geese that flock here along with a large population of pigeons that are fed daily by locals and tourists alike.
A popular place to just watch the world go by, Walpole Park is destined to be a focal point of local life in Gosport. Although the Park and the Lake are now separated by the South Relief Road, they share the common thread of leisure activities space, and now has both a children's play area and a skate board run for our more energetic youngsters.

  Canada Geese at Walpole Park Gosport 01

Walpole Park Gosport 02   Skate boarding at Walpole Park Gosport 01

 The exciting spiral design by the skateboard area has been designed by Jan O’Highway is a freelance artist, working mainly in mosaic and ceramics.
Jan’s work combines glaze-painted tiles with glass and mixed media mosaic, exploiting the resonant colours and tactile qualities of clay and glass. Eye-catching and durable the glazes and lustres are suitable for large panels and interactive pieces.

Recent work:

Ceramic panels for commemorative seating, Beminster Lane. Commissioned by Gosport BC and part funded by Hampshire Association for the Care of the Blind, the tactile glazes panels form part of a sensory garden

Model Yacht racing at Walpole Park Gosport 01   Model Yacht H.Q. at Walpole Park Gosport 01

In 1926 the original Club House was built by the members of the Gosport Model Yacht and Boat Club and this year it is being replaced adjacent to the two ponds with a new purpose built Club House and boat store, on top of which there will be a cafe/restaurant with balcony overlooking the lakes, so it will be well settled in for 2005.
Model yacht racing and scale boat activities, every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year with additional races mid-week during the Summer at Walpole Park Lake, South Street, Gosport on a purpose built lake approx 180'x800'x3'depth. Catering facilities and free car parking adjacent. Information available on all aspects of model yachting



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Without doubt one of Gosport's best  hotels that successfully combines style and elegance with a very relaxed atmosphere.

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