Oxford celebrates retaining six Green Flag awards

Published: Monday, 25th July 2016

Oxford City Council has retained all six Green Flag awards for its parks.

The awards, which recognise the best green spaces throughout the country, have been given to Blackbird Leys, Bury Knowle, Cutteslowe & Sunnymead, Florence and Hinksey parks and St Sepulchre Cemetery.

In awarding the prize, the judges who visited Florence Park commented: “This is a lovely park with great views and an interesting history. It is clearly well used and the appreciated by the community.”

Similarly, at St Sepulchre the judges commented on its “outstanding community involvement” to provide input on the park’s facilities, maintenance and clearance. They said: “The website has proved to be a unique tool to attract wide range of visitors and engage with the community.”

The six Oxford parks are among a record-breaking 1,686 parks and green spaces across the UK that have received prestigious Green Flag Awards.

The award, now celebrating its 20th year, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. A Green Flag flying overhead is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.

Awards are given annually, with winners re-applying to renew their Green Flag Status. Each individual site is judged on its own merits, its sustainability and how it serves the community.

Councillor Linda Smith, Executive Board Member for Leisure, Parks and Sports, said: “It is a huge honour to retain Green Flag Status for our five flagship parks and St Sepulchre Cemetery.

“These awards are evidence of the hard work that the City Council’s parks team puts in every day to maintain and improve the sites and the community involvement in them.

“Oxford’s parks and open spaces are a great place to visit throughout the year, whether it’s to have a picnic, use the play areas, see the beautiful flora and fauna, or catch Pokémon.”

International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme, especially as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Awards.

“All the flags flying this year are a testament to the efforts of the thousands of men and women, both staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”

A full list of award-winning parks can be found on the Green Flag Award website.

Share your photos, comments and find out what’s going on in your local parks and open spaces by visiting our Parks pages.

Further information about the award-winning parks:

  • Blackbird Leys Park was developed alongside the housing estate in the 1960s for the workers of the nearby Morris Motors Company, and is popular today with residents across Blackbird and Greater Leys. It offers two play areas, which includes a sand pit, slides, climbing wall and nets and double zip wire, traditional swings and play features.
  • Bury Knowle Park, situated in Headington next to the A420 London Road, was developed in the 1930s after the City Council bought Bury Knowle House and its grounds from Henry Beaufoy. The park offers a wide range of activities for all ages including the storybook tree, Narnia inspired play area and sensory garden.
  • Hinksey Park was also founded in the 1930s and is situated a 15 minutes’ walk away from Oxford city centre, off the Abingdon Road. The park has an extensive range of features including: a free ‘splash’ feature, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, play area and sand pit.
  • Florence Park is located in East Oxford, five minutes’ walk from Cowley Road. The park was opened in 1934 after the land was presented to the city by Councillor F.E. Moss, in memory of his sister Florence. The park has three play areas, tennis courts, miniature golf (charges apply), a kiosk and café. It’s also renowned for its tree canopies and autumn displays. 
  • Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park in North Oxford is the largest park in the city and has many activities for all ages, including; two large children’s play areas, football pitches, a cricket square a duck pond, wildlife area and even a miniature railway.
  • St Sepulchre’s Cemetery was opened in 1848 as a parish cemetery for four churches: St Giles, St Michael, St Mary Magdalen, and St Paul. The Friends of St Sepulchre’s actively help maintain the churchyard through regular work parties and have carried out in-depth research on those buried in the grounds.