Region's green spaces recognised with national award

Parks, nature reserves, allotments and green spaces across the region have been celebrating after achieving an international quality mark.

Daffodils in bloom at Brinton Park in Kidderminster
Daffodils in bloom at Brinton Park in Kidderminster

More than 40 parks and green spaces have been given Green Flag awards, the international quality mark across the country, with several also getting accreditation as green heritage sites and community awards.

The Green Flag Award scheme, which is celebrating its silver jubilee, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.

A range of different locations across the region have been given the award, with locations as diverse as the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas and the Lions of the Great War in Smetwick among those being acknowledged.

In Dudley, Buffery Park, Huntingtree Park, Mary Stevens Park, Priory Park, the Leasowes and Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve all achieved Green Flag status.

Mary Stevens Park and Priory Park have also achieved the Green Heritage Site Accreditation, supported by Historic England, for the management of its historic features, and Abbey Road allotment scored in the category of Community Award Winners.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for public realm: “Our parks and green spaces have played a vital part in ensuring our residents have a safe place to relax, exercise and meet friends and family safely.

“The news that so many of our parks and green spaces have achieved the Green Flag Award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our wonderful teams, friends groups and volunteers who have worked tirelessly.”

Six venues in Stafford Borough have been listed among the best parks and open spaces in the UK.

An aerial shot of Victoria Park in Stafford

Victoria Park in Stafford was awarded a 15th consecutive Green Flag following its £2.5 million restoration last year, while the crematorium on the town’s Tixall Road makes it in for a tenth time and the 160-year-old cemetery at Eccleshall Road claims flag number four.

Stonefield Park in Stone has celebrated a sixth success, with the town’s cemetery bringing up a hat-trick of awards, and Wildwood Park in Stafford retaining the flag they won for the first time in 2020.

Councillor Jonathan Price, cabinet member for environment, said: “It is great to see all six venues in our area are still part of the ‘Green Flag’ club.”

“We know how well the grounds of our parks and cemeteries are kept because our residents and visitors tell us – and they are our most important judges.

“But receiving national recognition for the hard work that we do is always pleasing and a tremendous achievement for all those involved on the ground and behind the scenes.”

Brinton Park in Kidderminster and Queen Elizabeth II Gardens in Bewdley are the parks in Wyre Forest celebrating success after receiving an award.

Councillor John Thomas, Cabinet Member for Operational Services said: “I’m delighted that Brinton Park and Queen Elizabeth II Gardens have both received the Green Flag Award.

“Over the past 18 months our parks and green spaces have played a vital role for people through lockdowns as a place to relax, exercise and meet friends and family safely. This achievement highlights the hard work and dedication of our operational services team that make our green spaces, great places that everyone can enjoy.”

Sandwell has been celebrating the most awards after retaining Green Flags for 14 sites across the borough.

These include Barnford Park in Oldbury, Brunswick Park in Wednesbury, Lightwoods Park in Bearwood, Red House Park in Great Barr, Revolution Walk in Smethwick and Warley Woods in Bearwood.

There were also two Sandwell Valley awards for the country park and the crematorium in West Bromwich, as well as Tipton Cemetery and the two Victoria Parks in Smethwick and Tipton.

The Lions of the Great War in Smethwick is one of many sites celebrating success

Haden Hill Park in Cradley Heath has also achieved the Green Heritage Site Accreditation, supported by Historic England, for the management of its historic features.

Councillor Danny Millard, cabinet member for culture and tourism said: “I am delighted that Sandwell has retained Green Flag status for these 14 sites.

“It’s due to the hard work and dedication of our friends groups, volunteers and staff who are working to make Sandwell a greener, cleaner borough.”

“It’s a great achievement that Sandwell’s Green Flag list includes a park in each of the six towns, so that everyone in Sandwell can benefit from their space and atmosphere.”

Wolverhampton’s Phoenix Park joined four other city beauty spots in being recognised as one of the very best green spaces in the UK.

Celebrating the Green Flag Award at Phoenix Park are, from left, ranger team leader Tom Tyler (kneeling), ranger Kameron Paul, Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment and climate change, ranger Sarah Price and ranger and countryside supervisor Tanzil Awal (kneeling).

The Dudley Road park has won a Green Flag Award this year, with West Park, East Park, Bantock Park retaining their flags for the fourth year in a row and Pendeford Mill Nature Reserve retaining its flag for a third year.

Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment and climate change, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Phoenix Park has this year been recognised by the Green Flag Award scheme.

“We’re also equally pleased that four of our other beautiful green spaces have retained their flags.

“We are really proud of all our parks in Wolverhampton, they are well loved by our residents and attract many visitors to the city.”

Walsall Council was celebrating after awards were given to Blackwood Park, Fibbersley Local Nature Reserve, King George V Playing Field, Kings Hill Park, Merrions Wood, Palfrey Park, Walsall Arboretum and Willenhall Memorial Park.

The most recent sites to achieve the accreditation are King George V Playing Fields and Walsall Arboretum and a number of sites lit up green to celebrate the awards.

Sites in Walsall such as Palfrey Park lit up green in celebration

Councillor Oliver Butler, portfolio holder for clean and green services said: “This is a great result for Walsall and is testament to all the commitment and hard work from our staff and many volunteers, which I really admire and appreciate.

“By adding the Arboretum and King George V Playing Fields to this already impressive list, it means we have now achieved a Green Flag status at a total of eight different green spaces around Walsall.

“Walsall Council is proud to gain these awards because the standards needed to get Green Flag status are exacting.

“These parks and open spaces have met the highest standards in horticulture, safety and environmental management.”

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