Our beautiful parks and green spaces have been awarded nine Green Flags – the most in Surrey.

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, recognises and rewards beautifully maintained spaces which have the highest possible environmental standards and provide an excellent visitor experience. The Castle Grounds are joined by Sutherland Memorial Park, Allen House Grounds, Stoke Park, Riverside Nature Reserve, Chilworth Gunpowder Mills, Lakeside Nature Reserve, Guildford Crematorium and The Mount Cemetery in retaining their awards.

Lead Councillor for the Environment, Cllr James Steel says:

“Receiving nine Green Flag Awards highlights our borough’s status as one of the best places to live and visit in the South East, a range of areas from town centre oases to traditional parks, heritage sites and nature reserves were awarded the Green Flag. These awards follow more success when earlier this year, the Guildford Castle and Grounds was recognised by Trip Advisor as one of the UK’s best attraction sites. Guildford is also the only town in Surrey and one of only 70 in the UK to be awarded the Purple Flag for its safe, vibrant evening and nightlife.

“During this unprecedented year, our Parks and Countryside team have played a central role in supporting our residents’ wellbeing through challenging times. Walking and exercising in green spaces have many mental and physical benefits and we work very hard to maintain them to a high standard. According to the NHS, just five minutes of exercise in parks and countryside can boost mental health.

“We are committed to climate change and protecting our environment and will continue to ensure our open green spaces are well looked after. We look after 50 countryside sites covering an area of nearly 700 hectares and our teams work hard to support the natural habitats of the borough’s wildlife with careful planting to maintain ecosystems.”

This year, a record-breaking 2,000 green spaces across the country received the prestigious award. Our Castle Grounds will be one of the many famous buildings and landmarks across the country, alongside the likes of the White Cliffs of Dover and the London Stadium, being lit green to celebrate the success and to say a massive thank you to the parks staff, volunteers and the Green Flag Award judges for all their work this year.

Cllr Steel adds: “We can’t thank our parks team and volunteers enough for the amazing job they have done. Lighting up the Castle Grounds in green is a reflection of the hard work and dedication our Parks Managers, staff and volunteers have shown over the past year. We have seen some fabulous displays including some special tributes to VE Day 75 in Stoke Park and the Castle Grounds.

Commenting on Guildford’s success, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE says: “This year, more than ever, our parks and green spaces have been a lifeline and we know that millions of people have used them to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.

“It is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff and volunteers that, despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors, Guildford Borough Council has achieved the highest international standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”