A record number of Northern Ireland parks and green spaces have been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Award.
Environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful today revealed details of the 70 parks and green spaces that have been awarded a Green Flag this year.
The Hill of the O’Neill in Dungannon provided the perfect backdrop as the properties received their awards for exceeding tough environmental standards for green space management and visitor facilities.
The Green Flag Award is an internationally recognised certification for environmental quality management for parks and open, green spaces and is growing from strength to strength.
For the 2018/19 season, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful saw a continued increase in public parks, gardens, country parks, cemeteries and green spaces meeting the demanding standards.
There were nine first-time winners this year across all participating council areas, including: Belmont Cemetery in Antrim and Newtownabbey; Loughgall Country Park and Portadown People’s Park in Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon; Connswater Community Greenway and Half Moon Lake in Belfast; Broadmeadow in Fermanagh and Omagh; Moat Park in Lisburn & Castlereagh; Hill of The O’Neill in Mid Ulster and Kilbroney Park in Newry, Mourne and Down.
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful also celebrates The Green Flag Community Award and The Green Heritage Award for sites which conserve, enhance and help people enjoy the heritage value of the site.
Rathfern Activity Centre and Toome Linear Park received their first Green Flag Community Awards and Ballyeaston Church Ruin received its third Green Flag Community Award; these sites are managed and maintained by local community volunteers.
Belfast Botanic Gardens and The Mall in Armagh received their first Green Heritage Award, with Antrim Castle Gardens and Sentry Hill Historic House and Visitor Centre receiving their third Green Heritage Awards; these sites celebrate and promote elements of their heritage that make their site unique.
The Green Flag Awards are judged annually by green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, ranging from horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement.
Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme. We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in Northern Ireland for people to experience, and encourage the public to head outdoors.
“The Green Flag Award is a sign of a well-managed, clean and safe park and with many people increasingly relying on their local park as a place to exercise, relax and have fun, quality green space has never been more important.
“Research shows that people will only visit a park if they perceive it to be clean and safe; and the Green Flag Award is an easy way for the public to see at a glance that their park meets the highest standards.
“All the flags flying this year are a testament to the efforts of the hundreds of men and women, both staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”
Anyone interested in finding out more information about the Green Flag Award or other programmes run by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful should email firstname.lastname@example.org call 028 9073 6920.
The full list of 2018/19 Green Flag Award recipients...
Antrim and Newtownabbey:
Lilian Bland Park
Antrim Castle Gardens
Sentry Hill Historic House & Visitor Centre
Jordanstown Loughshore Park, Hazelbank Park and Gideons Green
Valley Park (V36 and Glas-na-braden Glen)
Sixmile Water Park
Mill Race Trail
Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon:
Lurgan Public Park
The Mall Armagh City
ABC Canal Greenway
Lough Neagh Conservation Area
Loughgall Country Park
Portadown People’s Park
Cavehill Country Park
Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park
Belfast Botanic Gardens (H)
Connswater Community Greenway
Half Moon Lake
Department of Finance and Personnel:
Derry City and Strabane:
Fermanagh and Omagh:
Lisburn & Castlereagh:
Mid and East Antrim:
Carnfunnock Country Park
Ecos Nature Park
Eden Allotment Gardens
Bashfordsland Wood and Oakfield Glen
Carrickfergus Mill Ponds, Shaftesbury Park & Marine Gardens
Diamond Jubilee Wood
The People’s Park
Maghera Walled Garden
Hill of The O’Neill
Newry, Mourne and Down:
Slieve Gullion Forest Park
Rathfern Community Regeneration Group, Rathfern Activity Centre
Ballyeaston Village Committee, Ballyeaston Church Ruin
Tidal: Toome Linear Park