THE lush greenery and open spaces of Blandford have been recognised with a prestigious award.

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has handed the town the Green Flag Award for having the best green spaces in the country.

It is judged against eight criteria to recognise sites that are managed to the highest possible standards, are beautifully maintained and provide excellent facilities.

The Milldown has held the status for nine years running and Riverside Meadows has tasted success for a second year after first achieving the award last summer.

The Milldown, which is recognised as a Site of Nature Conservation Interest for its important chalk downland, is located in the heart of the town and provides a large open space for people to enjoy.

Riverside Meadows is a picturesque mosaic of different grasslands connected by the River Stour, popular with photographers and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

Cllr Peter Finney, Dorset County Council’s cabinet member for environment and economy, boasted that the locations provide a vital resource for the community, allowing people to get outside and enjoy green spaces of the highest quality.

“The Green Flag Award given to these sites provides national recognition of the quality of the green spaces we have right here in Blandford,” he said. “It’s testament to the dedication and hard work of staff and volunteers, who have helped make green spaces across Blandford fantastic places for everyone to enjoy.”

For more information on how to get involved with volunteering, contact the Dorset County Council North Dorset Ranger Office on 01258 456 970.