The UK is abundant with beautiful national parks, forests and commons. If we want to head out on a brisk walk in the Lake District, the New Forest or even one of London’s parks, we are spoiled for choice.
And now, the Green Flag Award Scheme has revealed which of the UK’s green spaces are the best, with some surprising spots and hidden gems being granted Green Flag Award status.
The scheme recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces around the UK. Any freely accessible park or green space is entitled to apply for Green Flag Status, providing that it is easy to navigate or has a map of the space on site.
Perhaps surprisingly for such a built-up city, Greater London was awarded the most Green Flags, dispelling the myth that urban areas lack green space. The region scooped 433 flags, while the northeast only received 64.
Soho Square, Leicester Square Gardens and Lewisham’s Hilly Fields were all recipients of the award.
Traditional parks and gardens around the UK, such as Hampstead Heath in London, Heaton Park in Manchester and the Botanical Gardens in Sheffield were predictable, but worthy winners of the award.
And it wasn’t only spots of nature that bagged the awards. While green space may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of a retail outlet, Bluewater Shopping Centre boasts 50 acres of scenic, landscaped parkland and was awarded a Green Flag for the third year running.
Traditional parks and gardens around the UK, such as Hampstead Heath in London, Heaton Park in Manchester and the Botanical Gardens in Sheffield are predictable, but worthy winners of the award.
Crematoriums, cemeteries and resting places were also surprising recipients of the award.
International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “It has been a record-breaking year for Green Flag Awards, and it’s fantastic to see such a diverse range of locations have been recognised. We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in the UK for people to experience, and encourage the public to head outdoors, explore their local area and find even more unexpected green spaces they can enjoy.”
The full list of winners can be found here.
The top ten most unusual Green Flag Award spaces are:
1. Sutton Coldfield Crematorium, Sutton Coldfield
2. Bluewater Shopping Centre, Dartford
3. Farnborough Business Park, Farnborough
4. GreenAcres Woodland Burials, Rainford
5. Port Sunlight Village, Wirral
6. Thames Barrier Park, London
7. Loughborough University, Loughborough
8. Polish War Memorial Gardens, Hillingdon
9. Leicester Square Gardens, London
10. Sheffield Winter Garden, Sheffield
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