This park is a gem almost hidden in plain sight. Many walk past without noticing, confusing the land as being part of the adjacent golf course.

It’s made of almost 10 hectares of open mown amenity grass, and over 17.5 hectares of semi-natural open space. It’s been designated as a Site of Importance to Nature Conservation (SINC), and is one of the city’s largest open spaces.

Wildlife

The semi-natural park grounds are made of coarse grassland and bramble scrub. The park supports an impressive variety of breeding birds, including Whitethroat and Cettis Warbler. A small wildlife pond is also tucked away north of the site.

You can still find Oak and Black Poplar trees, which were planted as a boundary around the fields.

History

In the mid-1600s, Gatcomb Farm was crisscrossed with many interconnected creeks joining to Langstone Harbour. Three large salterns (lagoons that produce salt by evaporation) were established to harvest salt. The Navy was the largest local consumer. Salt was produced until around 1800 when the salterns closed for business.

The land was then used for agriculture until the Portsmouth Corporation purchased the land in the 1920s for playing fields, allotments, golf and grazing. Part of the land was used for household waste disposal in the 1930s, which continued for thirty years. The land was then covered and restored.

Great Salterns Volunteers

The Great Salterns Countryside Officer runs a conservation volunteer group for anyone who’d like to join in.

For more information about volunteering here or elsewhere in Portsmouth, please email parks@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

Park Run

There is a park run every Saturday at 9am.

Facilities

Cricket pavilion and pitches.

Access

  • Parking: There is on-road parking located along Tangiers Road, as well as a small free car park with direct access to the park and another across the road in Baffins Pond Open Space a short walk away.
  • Trains: Rail access is via either Fratton station or Hilsea station. Both are around 2.5km away.
  • Buses: The Tangiers Road entrance is on the local bus routes 13 and 14 with services to and from central Portsmouth and Southsea every 20 minutes during the week, every 30 minutes on Saturdays, hourly on Sundays. Please check service before starting journey.
  • Cycling: Plenty of bicycle racks are provided nearby in Baffins Pond Open Space by the library.
  • Electric bikes and e-scooters: There are Beryl electric bike and Voi electric scooter racks located by the Tangiers Road entrance.