AN impressive 23 parks and green spaces in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole region have collected a 2021 Green Flag Award – the third highest for a region outside London.

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy named of 2,127 parks and green spaces across the UK that have collected the award as the scheme celebrates 25 years as the international quality mark for parks.

BCP Council run spaces like Pelhams Park, Tuckton Tea Gardens and Boscombe Chine Gardens were included for “setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the UK”.

In addition, three parks were awarded with a Green Heritage Site Accreditation. These were Hengistbury Head, Poole Park and Upton Country Park.

Bournemouth Echo: Upton Country ParkUpton Country Park

Moors Valley and Avon Heath Country Park were also recognised under Dorset Council.

BCP councillor Mark Anderson, portfolio holder for environment, said: “I am once again so very proud of our parks and open spaces that have been awarded Green Flags across the BCP area. This is fantastic news for both residents and visitors, as parks and open spaces have been such a lifeline to everyone during a difficult 18 months.

“As a council, we recognise that our green spaces are vital to our everyday health and wellbeing, and we are committed to protecting and enhancing our outstanding natural environment and preserving it for generations to come.

“These awards highlight what a fantastic job our Parks Team do, in maintaining our green spaces to the highest standards required, despite so many challenges. I would also like to mention and especially thank our dedicated volunteers who provide so much valuable support for our open spaces, everything from litter picking and keeping paths clear, to heathland management and supporting our visitor centres.”

Bournemouth Echo: Boscombe Chine GardensBoscombe Chine Gardens

Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “[We are] delighted to be the custodian of a scheme that does so much to ensure our parks and green spaces go from strength to strength.

“At a time when parks have been at the heart of every community across the country it is perhaps not surprising that 95 per cent of the public thinks that their local parks and green spaces need to be protected.

“This is why the Green Flag Award is so important. It ensures that parks and green spaces are managed to the highest standards and are safe and accessible for everyone to enjoy and we look forward to the next 25 years.”

Research carried out by YouGov over the summer revealed that having access to a quality park or green space helped improve people’s mental health with almost six in ten (59 per cent) saying they felt less stressed when using the park and 55 per cent saying they felt more positive in general.