Country park get its first Green Flag award

Brandon Country Park has bagged its first Green Flag giving West Suffolk six parks and open spaces to have secured the prestigious award.

Aspal Close, at Beck Row, has retained the Green Flag status it achieved for the first time last year, alongside East Town Park in Haverhill, which has held the award for 12 years; and Nowton Park and the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds, which have both held the award for 10 years.  Judging on West Stow, which has held the award since 2012, is yet to be announced.

Brandon Country Park was acquired by West Suffolk Council in 2018, having been previously run by Suffolk County Council.

Jo Rayner, West Suffolk Council Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs, said: “Brandon Country Park is loved and well-used locally, but deserves far wider recognition. I am delighted it has received a Green Flag and hope it will persuade more people to spend more time there. It is a perfect package of park, lake, walled garden, play area and a great café, and also a fine example of how open spaces bring people together, as volunteers, and as visitors. I highly recommend a visit, to this or any of our parks and open spaces.”

The park was laid out in 1820 by Edward Bliss who made his wealth selling gun flint to the army during the Napoleonic Wars. When the industry declined Edward put his men to work planting over a million trees over 50,000 acres, thus creating Thetford Forest. The park’s arboretum also grew and grew, full of exotic species from Blue Atlas Cedar to Giant Redwoods to Monkey Puzzle Trees.

The Green Flag Award scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting an international benchmark for managing recreational outdoor spaces. www.greenflagaward.org.uk

Picture above are Brandon Country Park volunteers and West Suffolk Parks staff join Jo Rayner to celebrate their first Green Flag Award.

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