Worcester city centre boasts three of the UK’s best parks

Fort Royal Park has become the third of Worcester City Council’s parks to be named in an award scheme recognising the very best parks and green spaces in the UK.

Fort Royal, site of the final battle of the English Civil War in 1651, has been awarded a Green Flag for the first time, joining Gheluvelt and Cripplegate parks in holding this prestigious accolade.

This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the park boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

The news of Fort Royal Park’s Green Flag was welcomed by Councillor Lynn Denham, Vice Chair of Worcester City Council’s Communities Committee and Chair of the Friends of Fort Royal Park.

She said: “The Friends of Fort Royal Park are absolutely thrilled. It has been our ambition to raise the status of the park to Green Flag level for the last five years, putting Fort Royal on the same level as Worcester’s other premier parks, so this is fantastic news.”

Cllr Mike Johnson, Chair of the Communities Committee, said: “For Worcester City Council to have three of its parks recognised as being among the best in the country is a remarkable achievement. I want to thank the City Council staff, the friends groups and all the many volunteers and partners who help to make our parks the beautiful places they are.”

Fort Royal Park is located south-east of the city centre, with the main entrance on Wylds Lane.  Fort Royal Park is of critical historical significance to the city, as the site of the 1651 Battle of Worcester, the final battle of the English Civil War. It was also visited by the second and third Presidents of the United States of America, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who were keen to see the site they regarded as the place where democracy was effectively born.

The park boasts stunning views of the city and a fantastic playground, containing innovative play equipment with a Civil War theme, designed for a range of age groups.

Gheluvelt Park has recently received its second TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence and reached the final three in Fields in Trust’s public vote for the best park in the UK in 2015.

Situated on Barbourne Road in the north of the city, Gheluvelt Park attracts nearly a million visitors a year. It is home to the fantastically popular Spalshpad water fountain – loved by families across the city. The Splashpad was part of £1.4m Heritage Lottery Fund-backed makeover in 2010, which also brought a specially commissioned war memorial feature, new play area and a refurbished bandstand.

Gheluvelt Park is on Historic England’s official Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. Twelve houses built within the park for disabled servicemen have Grade II Listed status, along with its bandstand, entrance arch, gates and railings.

Cripplegate Park is located to the west of the city on New Road, opposite the County Cricket ground. The park boasts stunning flower beds; separate play areas for toddlers through to teens; tennis courts and bowling greens. There is also astriking, nine-foot sculpture of a poppy, created in honour of the men of the Worcestershire Yeomanry who were killed in First World War battles in the Egyptian desert.

Worcester City’s three premier parks are among a record-breaking 1,797 UK parks and green spaces that will today receive a prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space.

Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme.  

“Each flag is a celebration of the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. The success of the scheme, especially in these challenging times, demonstrates just how much parks matter to people.”