Guildford’s parks and green spaces have been awarded a record 10 Green Flags this year – the most in the whole of Surrey and the South East. The flags are awarded to beautifully maintained spaces which have the highest possible environmental standards and provide an excellent visitor experience.
Further enhancing the borough’s status as one of the best places to live and visit in the South East, a range of areas from town centre oases to traditional parks, heritage sites and nature reserves were awarded the Green Flag. Guildford is also the only town in Surrey and one of only 70 in the UK to be awarded the Purple Flag for its safe, vibrant evening and nightlife.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to receive such a clutch of awards again this year for our wonderful array of parks and green spaces. Residents and visitors are spoilt for choice in Guildford. A Green Flag Award not only indicates to the public that the green space meets the highest standards it gives international recognition for all the parks managers, staff and volunteers who, through their dedication and hard work, have helped to create and maintain these fantastic places for everyone to enjoy. As the end of Love Parks Week approaches, we offer them our heartfelt thanks.’
She adds: ‘Fresh air and open space are vital for wellbeing. The environment affects every person, everywhere, in many different ways and as a Council we are committed to Climate Change and ensuring our green – and urban – spaces are maintained and accessible is a key part of our plan. For example we encourage people to get out of their cars and walk or cycle, while our teams work hard to support the natural habitats of the borough’s wonderful wildlife with careful planting to maintain ecosystems always balancing the safety of our residents and visitors travelling around.’
The Council is responsible for 52 countryside sites and 65 parks and green sites which together with other facilities totals a substantial 2,600 acres.
Green Flag awards for 2019:
Sutherland Memorial Park enjoys it’s 17th award this year while a new addition for 2019 is The Mount Cemetery. Stoke Cemetery received another award and the other sites to receive the international accolade, now in it’s third decade are:
The majestic Stoke Park has a Green Flag for the 13th year with 50 hectares of green space, a boating lake, skate park, fitness trail, large free paddling pool, tennis courts, sports pitches, helter skelter and mini-golf. Next year it will celebrate its centenary as a park.
The striking Allen House Grounds for the 9th year, providing a tranquil space in the centre of town with story telling and picnic areas and seating and a multi-use games area.
The vibrant Castle Grounds, a public garden since 1888 receives a Green Flag for the 11th year. The grounds boast a life-size Alice Through the Looking Glass statue, historic bowling green, a band stand and war memorial is host to the Council’s hugely popular Picnic in the Castle Grounds. It currently boasts a ‘moon themed flower bed’ created by our parks teams to commemorate the 50th year of Apollo 11 lunar mission and a special flower bed to mark 40 years of Guildford town twinning with Freiburg in Germany.
The historic Chilworth Gunpowder Mills for the 3rd year in beautiful woodland with hidden ruins, more than 100 building to explore, woodland stream, picnic area and Snail sculpture.
Lakeside Nature Reserve holds the flag for the 2nd year and is Guildford’s second Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) area to be recognised. Two of the borough council’s SANG sites hold Green Flag recognition, the other is the 33 hectare Riverside Nature Reserve with 650 different species of butterfly and moths.
SANGs are green spaces that provide recreation opportunities in a natural setting to reduce visitor pressure within the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area. Riverside Nature Reserve, the 33-hectare area alongside the River Wey to the North of Guildford, was the first SANG to gain the award.