224 parks and green spaces in Wales have received the prestigious Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award. They include a diverse range of sites, from country parks and formal gardens, to allotments, woodlands and churchyards.
Now in its third decade, the international Green Flag Award is a sign to the public that a park or green space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.
First-time winners include Forest Farm and Hailey Park in Cardiff, Thomastown Park in Merthyr Tydfil, Haulfre Gardens in Conwy, the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, and Tŷ Penallta in Caerphilly – the first council office grounds in Wales to be given a Green Flag Award.
Wales still holds more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites, which are maintained and run by volunteers. A variety of green spaces have achieved the Green Flag Community Award for the first time, including community orchard Llandrindod Pomarium, Mardy Park in Monmouthshire, and Llangoed Commons and Aberlleiniog Local Nature Reserve.
Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn said:
“Green spaces are vital for mental and physical well-being and throughout the pandemic we have seen how important these spaces have been for local communities. Wales still holds more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites and it is fantastic to see more places in Wales receiving Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award.
“These landscapes play a vital role in delivering rich ecosystems and vibrant and resilient communities, and I congratulate all of the sites for providing excellent, year-round facilities and events for people in Wales.”
The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. Independent green space experts volunteered their time in early autumn to judge applicant sites against eight strict criteria, including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management and community involvement.
Nine sites have achieved Green Heritage Site Accreditation this year, including the newly accredited St Fagan’s National Museum of History. This special award, endorsed by Cadw, recognises sites that are both historically significant and meet Green Flag criteria.
Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said:
“The pandemic has shown just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. For many of us, they have been a haven on our doorstep, benefitting our health and well-being.
“The 224 flags flying this year are a testament to the hard work of staff and volunteers who have maintained excellent standards under the most challenging circumstances. I’d like to congratulate and thank them all for their outstanding commitment.”
A full list of award winners can be found on the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru
Keep Wales Tidy are always on the lookout for new places to join the Green Flag Awards. If you’d like to put your park or green space on the map, visit the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru for more information.