THE Mere at Ellesmere will be flying the Green Flag this year – the mark of a quality park or green space in the UK – after the Green Flag Award scheme unveiled this year’s winners.
The Mere has been named among 1,476 parks, cemeteries, universities, shopping centres and community gardens that have met the high standard needed to receive the award.
Ann Hartley, Shropshire councillor for Ellesmere, said: “This is wonderful news. The Mere has so much to offer and is a great day out for all the family, so I’m delighted that it has been awarded a Green Flag.
“I especially want to say a huge thank you to our volunteers who have given up their time to help maintain and improve the park. Without their help – be it one day a year, an hour a month or a regular weekly session – the Green Flag Award would not have been possible, so this is a celebration of their efforts.”
The Green Flag Awards are judged by an army of more than 700 volunteer experts who visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement.
Managed by Shropshire Council, the Mere at Ellesmere is a beautiful lake with gardens, woodland walks and historic parkland.
The Mere-side promenade, gardens and Boathouse Restaurant and visitor centre have recently been restored to their former glory, and Cremorne Gardens offers a fantastic new adventure play area, formal flower beds, specimen trees, lawns and seating, and a circular garden walk.
Councillor Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “I would like to thank all the dedicated staff and volunteers at the Mere for their hard work in maintaining such a wonderful park.
“This is a great example of how Shropshire Council can work alongside volunteers and local communities to enable them to make a real difference to their local area.”
Communities Minister Stephen Williams added: “Parks are not just the heart of communities but also their green lungs – providing space for recreation, reflection and physical activity. They are particularly important to people in town and city centres where many residents don’t have their own gardens for relaxation and for their children to play.
“The Green Flag Awards show the sheer quality of UK parks and I’m delighted that more have got this award this year than ever before,” he added.
Other recipients of the award are Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London and Stormont Estate in Belfast. In Shropshire, Severn Valley Country Park at Highley and Alveley has also received the award.
The announcement of this year’s award winners comes in the same week that thousands of people up and down the country are celebrating the country’s fantastic parks and green spaces with Love Parks Week, which runs from July 25 to August 3.