Four parks and open spaces in the district have been recognised as some of the very best in the world.
Sconce and Devon Park in Newark, Vicar Water Country Park in Clipstone, Newark Castle and Gardens and Sherwood Heath in Ollerton — which are all managed by Newark and Sherwood District Council — are among 1,970 UK parts to receive the coveted Green Flag status — the mark of a quality park or green space.
This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.
It also recognises the hard work of staff and volunteers in maintaining spaces that meet the needs of the local community.
Councillor Roger Jackson, leisure and environment committee chairman, said: “We understand how important it is for our residents and visitors to be able to access quality green spaces and this award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining our parks to a high standard.
“Our Cleaner, Safer and Greener campaign certainly heightened awareness of our open spaces and we take great pride in our parks. The awards process provides us with independent assurance that we are continuing to provide high quality parks and open spaces.”
Sconce and Devon Park is home to the Queen’s Sconce, a 17th century Civil War fortification — one of the country’s finest remaining earthworks from the war — and is distinctly star-shaped when viewed from the air.
The park is also a popular place for families, with a café, children’s play area, fitness trail, regular craft events, recreational activities and both junior and adult park runs all taking place in the park.
Located just outside of Ollerton, Sherwood Heath is a designated local nature reserve and comprises 23 hectares of heathland, grassland and woodland. It contains tracts of original acid grassland and lowland heaths which are distinctive semi-natural habitats associated with the lowland heaths of the East Midlands.
Vicar Water Country Park is also a designated local nature reserve and sits to the south of Clipstone village, formed on the site of a former colliery. The park is available for use for environmental education purposes and an on-site visitor centre and café is run by Rumbles Catering Project — a registered charity which provides training in catering and life skills for people with learning difficulties.
Newark Castle and Gardens is the site of the ancient fortification where King John, the Magna Carta monarch, died in 1216 and the scene of Royalist troops’ last stand in the English Civil Wars. Today, visitors can take guided tours, visit exhibitions or walk through the Victorian gardens.
The Green Flag Awards Scheme — further information at www.greenflagaward.org — is run by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, which inspires people to be litter-free, to waste less and to live more.