A record-breaking 14 parks in Sheffield are among the very best in the UK – and that’s official.
Devonshire Green, Ecclesall Woods, Firth Heritage Park, Meersbrook Park, the Peace Gardens, the Botanical Gardens, the Winter Garden, Wheata Woods, Millhouses Park, Norfolk Heritage Park, Weston Park, Tinsley Green, Manor Fields Park and the Cholera Monument Grounds and Clay Wood are among 1,582 parks and green spaces nationwide to receive a prestigious Green Flag Award.
The award recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. A Green Flag flying overhead is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.
Councillor Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive a record number of Green Flag Awards from Keep Britain Tidy.
“These awards recognise and highlight that people across Sheffield are benefitting from a green space of the very highest quality.
“This also confirms Sheffield’s status as The Outdoor City. Sheffield is a place to live, work and visit to combine city life with easy access to green spaces, both formal and informa.
“Sheffield tops the table of Green Flag Awards in Yorkshire and the Humber, reflecting our special landscape and environment from urban parks to Peak District moors.”
It is the first time that Manor Fields Park, which was still derelict land just 15 years ago, has been awarded a Green Flag Award.
Sue France, chief executive of Green Estate, which manages the council-owned site, said: “We couldn’t be more delighted to receive a Green Flag Award. The story behind Manor Fields Park though is very different to many traditional Green Flag winners.
“Just 15 years ago there was no park at all – just a ‘no-go’ wasteland. We wanted to do something very different which would also offer a blueprint for creating other much more sustainable urban parks in the future.
“From storm water management, innovative play areas, some of the most interesting nature inspired planting schemes and a really brilliant set of partnerships – this park now has it all.”
Green Flag Community Awards were also awarded to Heeley City Farm and Sheffield City Council, for Heeley City Farm, Firth Park Community Allotment, Norfolk Park Community Garden, Wortley Hall Walled Garden, Devon Gardens and Grenoside Green.
The Green Flag Awards are judged by an army of more than 700 green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement.
International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme.
“All the flags flying this year are a testament to the efforts of the thousands of men and women, both staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”
This comes as Sheffield City Council is increasingly capitalising on the city’s reputation as The Outdoor City – the UK’s definitive destination for people seeking outdoor adventure, city culture and rural escapes
Last year an independent study, carried out by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, found that outdoor recreation in Sheffield generates more than £53m in economic output a year, in addition to engaging people in outdoor activity and generating significant health benefits.
Coun Bowler added: “This year is a bumper year for Sheffield’s status as an Outdoor City, with nationally and internationally-renowned events such as the Climbing Works International Masters, the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, the Steel City Downhill, the International Adventure Conference and the European Outdoor Summit.
“We are building on our reputation, growing Sheffield’s reputation as The Outdoor City, and using this unique offer to bring in more business and tourism.
“With two thirds of the city boundaries within the Peak District National Park, a greater spend per head on outdoor equipment than the rest of the UK, an above average participation rate in outdoor pursuits and more than 200 outdoor businesses, the outdoor economy has huge significance to our city – and these Green Flag Awards are further proof as to what makes us so special.”