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Alver Valley Country Park

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The Alver Valley Country Park is a country park in Rowner, part of the borough of Gosport, on the south coast of Hampshire, England.

View from Apple Dumpling Bridge, Rowner

It includes 200 hectares of woodland. Its 67 acre Wildgrounds Nature Reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, owing to its ancient oak trees and diversity of fauna such as oak gall wasps, purple emperor butterflies, and green oak tortrix moths. The River Alver passes through the valley where it is crossed at Apple Dumpling Bridge, whose name is said to derive from the apple dumplings sold to soldiers by a lady at the bridge during the Crimea war. Carter's Copse, which was named after the Reverend Richard Foster-Carter (1810-1876), has the oldest known fortification in Gosport, a Motte and Bailey from the 11th century, which is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Legend claims a poacher by the name of Rabbit Skin Jack, haunts the copse, after hanging himself by his boot laces in Dead Man's Hollow. At the bottom of the Motte or mound is a World War IIPillbox, which was erected to protect Grange Airfield (now HMS Sultan), which existed from July 1914 to December 1958. The airfield became the home of the Royal Flying Corps and the base for the Special School Of Flying. Fort Rowner was completed on the 20th January 1862, at a cost of £110,388. 

A small hamlet is said to have been established between 700 and 900AD, with mentions being given to Ruganor in the Anglo-Saxon Charter of 948, and Rugenor in the Doomsday Book of 1086. At that time the manor house was held by William Mauduit, who later became Chamberlain of the Exchequer by grant of King Henry I of England. Mention was also given to the local church, which became Saint Mary The Virgin in the twelfth century, and in whose grounds have been found Roman burial shrouds. Grange Farm has been a part of Rowner's village since 1295, when the monks of Quarr Abbey on the Isle Of Wight had it built. They carried on using the Grange until the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1536. In 1642, civil war between King and Parliament, saw Gosport supporting Parliament and neighbouring Portsmouth backing the King. This time period and that of rural village life is commemorated at the "Little Woodham Living History Village", which is also known as "The 17th Century Village". The award-winning living museum has a recreated street of period houses and volunteers playing the parts of the villagers.


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