Six of Derby’s city parks have been recognised as being among the best in the world by the Green Flag Award Scheme.
And in its 180th anniversary year, Derby Arboretum has been awarded the prestigious Green Heritage Award, a first for Derby. Supported by Historic England, this award recognises sites where conservation of historic features and landscaping plays a prominent role. Derby Arboretum has also been awarded a Green Flag along with five more parks: Alvaston, Chaddesden, Darley, Sunnydale and Markeaton.
In usual times, raising the Green Flag in each park is a high-profile celebration, but in line with Covid-19 guidance, this year Derby Council House will join in the award scheme’s #GoGreenForParks initiative by being lit with green lights until 19 October. Along with landmarks such as the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Salford’s Media City, the lights are going green to say a massive thank you to the parks staff, volunteers and the Green Flag Award Judges for all their work this year.
The contribution made by volunteers and local people has also been recognised, with the awarding of Community Green Flags to eight gardens, allotments, open spaces and nature reserves: Ashbourne Road and District Allotment Association, Chaddesden Wood Local Nature Reserve, Chellaston Brickworks Local Nature Reserve, Darley and Nutwood Local Nature Reserve, the Hydrangea Garden at Darley Park, the Walled Garden at Markeaton Park, Sinfin Moor Park and Little Chester Allotment Association.
Following lockdown, volunteers are now back in the parks and open spaces, carrying out their tasks in a Covid compliant way.
Councillor Robin Wood, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “It is always an honour to be recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme, but even more so this year, when our parks and open spaces have been so valuable for recreation and for enjoying the beauty of nature during a turbulent time.
“When everything had to stop for lockdown, the work to maintain them couldn’t, so everyone who has played a role in looking after our parks and open spaces deserves to feel proud, including the volunteers who have taken a local space to their hearts.”
As park rangers continued to look after the parks during lockdown and keep them safe and clean for visitors, the team at Derby Parks worked with volunteers and other organisations to adapt to the constantly changing situation, and make much-loved events happen in a different way.
Larks in the Park at Derby Arboretum was celebrated online by the Friends of Derby Arboretum, while Superheroes Picnic In The Park became Superheroes Picnic at Home, with online content for families to enjoy. A special broadcast online and on BBC Radio Derby brought The Hannells Darley Park Concert to audiences at home, with footage from last year’s event interspersed with new, filmed performances.
Throughout lockdown, when the parks saw a very high level of visitors enjoying their daily recreation in fine weather, the council’s Streetpride Ground Maintenance team worked to cut the grass in high priority areas, keep up with the high demand for emptying bins, and carrying out essential care to look after the city’s precious trees.
The Green Flag Awards Scheme, now in its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.
Chaddesden Park is an important focal point in the local community, offering an extensive range of sports, children’s play areas, attractive parkland and in usual years, hosting community events such as The Big One.
Darley Park is a large, picturesque and popular park within walking distance of the city centre. The park boasts beautiful gardens including the largest hydrangea collection in Britain – which has won a Community Green Flag this year - a nature reserve that provides a home to a wide range of species, and one of the UK’s biggest outdoor classical concerts The Hannells Darley Park Concert.
Sunnydale Park is a local nature reserve located in the Blagreaves ward of Derby. Covering 13.2 hectares and consisting of a variety of habitats, the park features a large balancing pond that provides a home for a whole host of animals.
Alvaston Park is a picturesque riverside park in the south of Derby that offers a wealth of activities from fishing, exploring the unique science garden, riding BMX, playing football to enjoying a walk around the historic lake.
Markeaton Park is Derby’s most visited park and one of the most popular attractions in the East Midlands. Markeaton Park offers a wide range of activities from the Mundy Play Centre, the Craft Village and The Orangery café to sports activities, walks and gardens and events throughout the year. Its Walled Garden has also won a Community Green Flag.
Derby Arboretum is known for being the first public park in England, opening its doors to the public in 1840. The modern day Derby Arboretum boasts beautiful heritage landscape, a superb collection of trees, the Heart of the Park community building, various sports facilities and events throughout the year.
Derby has over 300 parks and open spaces to enjoy, filled with things to do as a family, opportunities to get healthy, and beautiful trees and gardens. Find out what they have to offer at www.inderby.org.uk/parks.