Shortlist announced for UK’s Best Park 2019

Four parks from across the UK have been shortlisted in Fields in Trust’s search to find the UK’s Best Park.

Castle Gardens, Antrim (pictured), Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr Tydfil, Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline and Stanley Park, Blackpool have each been shortlisted following a public vote.

The UK’s Best Park is organised by green space charity Fields in Trust who, for over 90 years, have legally protected parks and green spaces ensuring they will always be available for future generations to enjoy.

A record 364 nominations were received for UK’s Best Park 2019. Those nominations were supported by park users, communities, Friends of Parks groups, and landowners and an unprecedented total of 36,832 votes were cast for parks and green spaces across the UK.

The shortlisted parks are:

  • Antrim Castle Gardens, Antrim. The nomination identified that Antrim Castle Gardens has completed a transformation “… from local gem to national treasure” and recognised the “passionate team driven by the ambition to put their place on the map”.
  • Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr Tydfil was identified as “…a park for people of all ages and interests”. The park was celebrated for its “…sensory garden and meadowlands which provide a haven of tranquillity”; and “The woodland walks, a delight for dog walkers and nature-lovers … it is a park for all”.
  • Pittencrieff Park in Dunfermline, Scotland is known locally as “The Glen” and was celebrated for its diversity “… from kid’s areas to glasshouses, peacock sanctuary and historical features …. rocky waterfalls, imaginative paths, well-stocked, neatly trimmed flower beds and herb gardens”.
  • Stanley Park, Blackpool, was described as “… a beautiful, tranquil place away from the hustle and bustle of the Blackpool seafront”. The “great volunteers and staff who keep it in tip-top condition” were also recognised in the online nomination.

In addition, 73 parks and green spaces have achieved “Much Loved” status, having been placed in the top 20% of all UK's Best Park 2019 nominations throughout the UK. The "Much Loved" status recognises the support of local people who use and love these parks and green spaces.

Fields in Trust is a UK-wide charity that since 1925 has been legally protecting parks and green spaces in perpetuity. The UK’s Best Park Award recognises the role that parks play in our communities, supporting mental and physical health and bringing people together. The charity is concerned that many parks and green spaces are under threat and are at risk of being lost to development or a cycle of decline and disappearance.

Fields in Trust recently published research, the Green Space Index, which revealed that over 2.5 million people across Great Britain do not have access to a local park within ten minutes walk from home. With public sector cuts leading to pressure on parks and green spaces, there is a risk that a lack of legal protection could lead to more being sold off or developed. Yet these vital outdoor spaces deliver health and wellbeing benefits to those that use them regularly. Fields in Trust research reveals that overall, parks and green spaces contribute £34 billion each year in health and wellbeing benefits to their regular users and save the NHS £111million each year simply in avoided GP appointments.

Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths said: "The increased number of parks nominated, and a record number of votes cast, show just how much the UK’s local green spaces are cherished by the people who use them. Recognising the UK's Best Park is a way of revaluing our green spaces for the physical and mental health benefits they provide to their local communities. I congratulate all our “Much-Loved” parks and green spaces and wish the four Home Nation winners well for the UK’s Best Park award which we will announce on September 12th.

Fields in Trust is committed to protecting these vital parts of the UK’s community infrastructure for future generations to enjoy. We know that green spaces are good, do good and need to be protected for good.”

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