In the past fourteen months of Covid-19 with repeated lockdowns, Nottingham’s parks and green spaces have been a lifeline for so many people in our city.
Now, the beauty of spring in our parks has been brought to people who haven’t been able to get out and see it for themselves.
Residents in the Oaks Residential Home in St Ann’s enjoyed a virtual tour of Nottingham parks by watching a series of videos that Nottingham City Council has created featuring spring flowers and wildlife in our parks.
The videos feature some of Nottingham’s most popular parks, including The Arboretum, Wollaton Park, Victoria Park and Colwick Country Park. Residents including Sylvia and Angela shared their memories of visiting parks as children and with their families, and enjoyed seeing and hearing the sights of spring.
Nottingham has long been known for its parks – with 74 of them holding Green Flag awards – more than anywhere else in England. 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.
A quarter of the city is made up of green space – and Nottingham City Council has continued to invest in parks, winning funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help restore and improve the Forest Recreation Ground and Highfields Park, with Victoria Embankment next on the list.
The council is currently developing a new 25 year open and green space strategy. This work is being carried out by the Nottingham Future Parks Team and is part of a national Future Parks Accelerator programme that is funded by the National Lottery and the National Trusts. The new strategy will lay out plans to enhance, activate and sustain our green spaces over the next 25 years.
Councillor Rosemary Healy, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Transport and Cleansing Services, said: “25% of our city is made up of parks and green spaces – making us one of the greenest cities in the country, and we love our parks – Nottingham City Council has invested £36million in them in the past decade.
“We know that our parks were already much loved and well visited by Nottingham people – but they took on a new meaning during Covid as one of the only places we could get out of the house and safely exercise and enjoy nature.
“I’m happy that these videos are now available for people everywhere who want to get a taste of our gorgeous parks.”
Eddie Curry, Head of Public Realm at Nottingham City Council, said: “While our parks have lost income and volunteers during the pandemic, the past fourteen months has also clearly demonstrated just how vital parks and green spaces are both as a source of joy and for mental and physical health.
“So it’s amazing to see the beauty of our parks in springtime being brought to people who can’t get out in person to enjoy it – and being captured for people all over the world to enjoy.”
The ONS found that visits to parks in England were up to 85% higher in summer 2020 than previous years.
Nottingham’s Parks trivia
- Wollaton is the biggest park at 511 acres
- Nottingham City Council will plant 10,000 trees in parks and open spaces by 2023
- Nottingham’s smallest park is the Commercial Road park, at just 0.15 acres
- Highfields Park was opened in 1923 and donated to the city by Jesse Boot in 1932
- The Forest Recreation Ground was the original home of Nottingham Forest Football club, and was also home to a race track in the late 1800s
- The Arboretum is Nottingham’s oldest park – and it’s thought to have been the inspiration for Neverland in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan
- Biodiversity officers in Nottingham’s parks work to make our green spaces as bee and wildlife friendly as possible by planting wildflowers