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Watford wins Green Flag status for 17 parks

Oxhey Park, Credit: Watford Borough Council.

Watford’s parks and outdoor spaces have been recognised in this year's Green Flag Award scheme.

The 17 winners include Cassiobury Park, Garston Park, King George V Playing Fields, Lea Farm Recreation Ground, Oxhey Park and Oxhey Grange/Watford Heath.

For the sixth year running, Watford received more Green Flag awards than any other district in Hertfordshire.

On Thursday (14 October) the Town Hall turned green along with other buildings in the UK to celebrate this year's announcement.

First launched in 1996, the Green Flag Award is the international quality mark for parks.

The scheme recognises well-managed sites across the country and is managed by environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy – under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “When I speak to residents, many of them tell me that our fantastic parks and green spaces are one of the things they like most about Watford.

“That’s why I’m pleased that we’ve got the highest number of green flags in Hertfordshire, and one of the highest in the country.

“When I was elected as Mayor I committed to continued investments in improving our parks, we are making great progress and it is wonderful to be recognised for this while we continue to make improvements such as Oxhey Activity Park, Garston Park, Woodside Playing Fields and Lea Farm Recreation Ground.

“There is strong evidence that open green spaces have a huge impact on people's health and well-being and we are committed to enabling people access to places where they can connect with nature, take exercise and also have fun. I would also like to thank Veolia staff and the ‘Friends of’ groups who do so much to keep our parks in a good condition.”

Cheslyn House and Gardens has also received a Green Flag Award. Credit: Watford Borough Council.

During the past 18 months, green spaces have played a key role in enabling people to feel more relaxed.

Access to a quality park or green space has helped improve people's mental health – according to research carried out by YouGov this summer for Keep Britain Tidy.

Around six in ten (59%) said they felt less stressed when using a park, with a further 55% stating they were more positive in general.

The survey also revealed over half of people (53%) visit a park or green space at least once a week, whilst more than nine in ten (93%) believe parks and green spaces are important to their community.

Commenting on the announcement of the Green Flag Award winners, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive, Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, said:

“At a time when parks have been at the heart of every community across the country it is perhaps not surprising that 95% of the public thinks that their local parks and green spaces need to be protected.

“This is why the Green Flag Award is so important. It ensures that parks and green spaces are managed to the highest standards and are safe and accessible for everyone to enjoy and we look forward to the next 25 years."

The full list of 2021 Green Flag status parks in Watford are: Callowland Recreation Ground, Cassiobury Park, Cheslyn House and Gardens, Garston Park, Goodwood Recreation Ground, Harwoods Recreation Ground, King George V Playing Fields, Lea Farm Recreation Ground, North Watford Cemetery, Orchard Park, Oxhey Activity Park, Oxhey Grange/Watford Heath, Oxhey Park, Paddock Road Allotments, St Mary’s Churchyard, Waterfields Recreation Ground and Woodside Playing Fields.

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