Green spaces around Bedford borough have been judged as some of the best in the country.
Five parks and green spaces were awarded a Green Flag in recognition of the special care taken to preserve the beautifully maintained spaces.
The award scheme, which sets the benchmark standard for parks and green spaces across the UK, has been awarded to Priory Country Park, Harrold Odell Country Park, Bedford Park and Addison Howard Park.
The Community Green Flag Award, was won by Hill Rise Nature Reserve in recognition of the special care taken by voluntary and community groups to provide the sanctuary.
Priory Country Park has the longest history of being awarded the Green Flag, having won it for 14 years running. Winning the Green Flag Award for over a decade is testament to the continued high standards and hard work that has gone into maintaining and improving the grounds, which span across 360 acres and are just a short walk from the town centre.
Some of the criteria that parks are judged against include its being welcoming, healthy, safe and secure, clean and well maintained, their sustainability, conservation, heritage, biodiversity and community involvement.
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “Bedford Borough’s award-winning parks and green spaces are outdoor places the borough can be extremely proud of.
“Winning these awards is no easy task and thanks to the hard work of teams within Bedford Borough Council and our valued volunteers, they have been named as some of the nation’s finest outdoor spaces.
“We all have a responsibility to ensure these green spaces are preserved, protected and kept clean so they go on to keep winning these awards and setting Bedford Borough apart.”
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 which ends on Sunday, August 2, an annual celebration of our country’s fantastic green spaces and the community groups that bring them to life.
If you are interested in volunteering at one the Borough Council’s parks or green spaces and helping the park rangers, gardeners, litter pickers or other grounds staff, contact Bedford Borough Council Community Volunteering on 01234 718276 or visit www.bedford.gov.uk/volunteering
The Green Flag scheme is administered by national environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, with support from the Department of Communities and Local Government.
For more information please visit www.greenflagaward.org