These are the parks in Suffolk, including Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe Seafront Gardens and Alton Water near Ipswich, which have received the prestigious Green Flag Award
Several parks across Suffolk have been awarded for the quality of their green spaces – in a year in which officials have said they have 'never been so important' for physical and mental health.
A total of 11 parks in the county have received a Green Flag Award in recognition of being safe, clean and well looked after.
One of the green spaces, Felixstowe Seafront Gardens, has also achieved the Green Heritage Site Accreditation, supported by Historic England, for the management of their historic features.
The scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, has given a Green Flag Award to the following parks in our county:
- Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds, managed by West Suffolk Council
- Alton Water near Ipswich, managed by Anglian Water Services Ltd
- Aspal Close Nature Reserve in Beck Row, managed by West Suffolk Council
- Bourne Park in Ipswich, managed by Ipswich Borough Council
- Brandon Country Park, managed by West Suffolk Council
- Christchurch Park in Ipswich, managed by Ipswich Borough Council
- East Town Park in Haverhill, managed by West Suffolk Council
- Felixstowe Seafront Gardens, managed by East Suffolk Council
- Holywells Park in Ipswich, managed by Ipswich Borough Council
- Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds, managed by West Suffolk Council
- West Stow Country Park, managed by West Suffolk Council
Officials at West Suffolk Council, which is celebrating six of its parks receiving an award, said they were 'proud' of the staff and volunteers who have looked after the spaces.
Cllr Jo Rayner, cabinet member for leisure and culture at West Suffolk Council, said: “The pandemic has meant that our parks and green spaces have never been so important.
"While they have always been popular, we managed to keep them open during lockdown and people were grateful to be able to get out to our parks to exercise, to walk and to mentally recharge.
"That importance, at what has been a time of huge strain on us all, cannot be underestimated.”
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council said: “The proactive management of our parks and green spaces is part of what makes West Suffolk such a desirable place to live and work.
"As well as being attractive places to visit, our parks play an important role in conserving natural habitats and increasing biodiversity.
"While it has obviously been, and continues to be, a challenging year for us all, I’m proud of the West Suffolk staff and the volunteers that have continued to keep these wonderful green spaces so well cared for, safe and clean, for so many people to go out and enjoy.”
Meanwhile, Ipswich Borough Council is celebrating its three parks being awarded – including Bourne Park which is raising a Green Flag Award for the first time, alongside Christchurch which has now won 13 flags in succession and Holywells which has received 10 in a row.
Ipswich's Green Flags will be officially unfurled this week, starting with Bourne Park this morning at 10am.
And this evening, Christchurch Park’s Round Pond will join buildings and landmarks across the country, including the White Cliffs of Dover at Samphire Hoe, the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Salford’s Media City, going green for parks to celebrate Ipswich’s Green Flag Award success and to say thank you to the parks staff, volunteers and the Green Flag Award judges for all their work this year.
Cllr Philip Smart, Ipswich Borough Council’s parks and open spaces portfolio holder, said: “This is fantastic news for Ipswich, especially this year when our parks and open spaces have been a lifeline to residents, providing them with a place to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.
"The fact that Bourne has been recognised for the first time is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff who have worked tirelessly to make improvements to the park and maintain it to the standards required despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors.”