Watford residents now have six award-winning parks on their doorstep – and that’s official, with Green Flag’s awarded today to St Mary’s Churchyard and Callowland Recreation Ground.
Elected Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said “We know how important our green spaces are to residents, so I am delighted that six of our parks are now among the very best in the UK. A big thank you goes to our partners Veolia, along with the army of volunteers who have helped us to achieve this fantastic recognition.”
Matthew Crane, Senior Contract Manager for Veolia Watford said, "This fantastic achievement is testament to the hard work and dedication of our park rangers and ground maintenance staff. We are looking forward to continuing to work in partnership with Watford Borough Council in order to build on these successes."
The Green Flag Award, from Keep Britain Tidy, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. The awards – given to Cassiobury, Woodside and Cheslyn for a sixth year in a row, Oxhey for the second time and newly joined by St Mary’s and Callowland - are judged by an army of more than 700 green space experts. Sites are assessed against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement.
Over the last few years, St. Mary’s Churchyard - a popular green space that sits at the heart of the town centre - has undergone a transformation. The nationally listed tombs, where important Watford residents have been laid to rest, were restored with over £80k of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Visitor information boards tell their fascinating stories including that of George Edward Doney, a freed slave originally from Gambia.
Following consultation with local residents and groups who use the popular Callowland Rec; we set about bringing the park up to Green Flag standards. Over the last four years, we have invested over £600,000 in new trees, new seating and signage, replacing and restoring the park railings, and removing the derelict tennis courts. We also installed a new multi use games area and adult gym, and improved access to the play areas. It is now a very popular and well used space, much loved by local residents.
The announcement of this year’s Award winners comes in the same week that thousands of people up and down the country are enjoying Love Parks Week (July 24 to August 2), an annual celebration of our country’s fantastic green spaces and the community groups that bring them to life.
For more information about Watford’s beautiful green spaces, please visit www.watford.gov.uk/parks From here you can check out all the great events and activities planned for the coming months.