Three Ipswich parks celebrate Green Flag wins
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Much-loved Ipswich parks including Christchurch and Holywells have retained their Green Flag status - recognising high levels of maintenance.
Holywells Park has claimed its 11th successive Green Flag award after being named in the 2021 list of recipients while for Christchurch Park it is the 14th time in a row it has been recognised.
Joining the stalwarts is Bourne Park, taking its second consecutive win.
Green Flag awards recognise high standards of park maintenance and set the benchmark for well-managed green space.
But what makes these Ipswich parks so special?
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Christchurch Park was the first public park in Ipswich, opening in 1895 - and reopening in 2008 after a £4.5m restoration project.
It has hosted the annual November fireworks display for 50 years and is the setting for Ipswich Music Day and the Remembrance ceremony.
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But day to day, residents appreciate the spot for its heritage features, the children's play area, the wildlife pond with "lots of ducks" and sports facilities.
Holywells Park has earned a Green Flag every year for more than a decade, with the Parks for People restoration project in July 2012 boosting its profile.
Visitors praise the beauty, wildlife and 'hidden gem' feel of the park, but it's a community hub with plenty going on. The iconic conservatory building is used for exhibitions and functions, while the walled garden has a performance space for theatre and dance groups.
The children's play area has a facility for teenagers and the restored Victorian ice house is truly unique.
Speaking about a previous award win for the park, Robin Gape, chair of the Friends of Holywell Park group, praised the "hard work, commitment, and affability of many people" involved in the running of the park, including Ipswich Borough Council's park staff, friendly café workers and the many volunteers.
He added: "The pleasant nature of most park visitors is a big plus. Holywells Park is well worth a visit, whether taking the kids to the play area, or just exploring the paths. Long may it remain so."
Bourne Park has a beach-themed play park that has equipment suited for wheelchairs and those with disabilities to ensure accessibility for all.
Councillor Philip Smart, Ipswich Borough Council's park and open spaces portfolio holder, said: "Yet again these Ipswich parks have been recognised for their high standards of horticulture, safety and environmental management and the role they play in improving the mental and physical wellbeing of local people, providing a place to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.
"We are delighted to be raising these flags in our winning parks, but let's not forget that the true winners are the dedicated parks staff and volunteers who work tirelessly all year round to make improvements to our parks and maintain them to the standards required - thank you, these awards are for you."
The Green Flag scheme has been managed by Keep Britain Tidy since 2012 and recognised a record-breaking 2,127 parks across the UK this year.