Northumberland parks are flying the flag as some of the UK’s very best green spaces

18 Jul 2017

Northumberland has some of the best parks in Britain – and that’s official.

Parks in Bedlington, Berwick, Blyth, Cramlington, Hexham and Morpeth together with the country parks at Plessey Woods near Bedlington and Bolam Lake near Belsay, have all been awarded prestigious Green Flag Awards by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.

Northumberland’s winning green spaces are Ridley Park, Doctor Pit Park, Alexandra Park, Hexham Parks, Carlisle Park, Castle Vale and Coronation Parks, Plessey Woods Country Park and Bolam Lake Country Park, all part of a great tally of  award-winning parks and green spaces in 2017.

The award, now into its third decade, 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.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council said: “We are absolutely delighted that so many of our parks have achieved Green Flag Awards from Keep Britain Tidy.

“They highlight and recognise that residents and visitors are benefitting from green spaces of the very highest quality.

“We are extremely grateful for the support and commitment of local people, parks users, friends groups, town and parish councils, volunteers and our own staff, who help to keep parks vibrant and extremely well-used.  Everyone involved can be very proud.”

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.  


“Each flag is a celebration of the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. The success of the scheme, especially in these challenging times, demonstrates just how much parks matter to people.”

Entries for the Green Flag Award are open to parks and green spaces located in the UK. Applications are judged against a set of eight key criteria including conservation and heritage, community involvement and sustainability.


More about the Northumberland Green Flag parks:

Alexandra Park, Cramlington:

Alexandra Park is located in the town of Cramlington in South East Northumberland. The Park was developed in the 1970s to provide recreational opportunities for the expanding population of the new town.

The layout is modern with large areas of amenity open space housing football pitches, a bowling green, pavilion, play areas, multi use games area and a skate park. The park also affords informal recreational opportunities as the park has excellent off road links with surrounding areas through a network of footpaths and cycleways.

The judges described the Park as a facility used by a wide range of the local community and is a credit to all involved. They were particularly impressed by the wildflower planting schemes which were implemented by Cramlington Town Council working in partnership with the Neighbourhood Services team of Northumberland County Council


Bolam Lake Country Park, near Belsay

Bolam Lake is situated 9 miles west of Morpeth and 2.5 miles north of Belsay located just off the A696

The park has around 100 acres of woodland, amenity grassland and 25 acres is the lake itself which affords stunning views as you walk around.  The wildlife is abundant and home to red squirrels, deer, mute swans and many woodland birds including the nuthatch

There are lovely walks for all the family and many generations have visited with the ever popular activity of feeding the ducks and swans.  

Last year saw the 200th year since the lake was started by John Dobson and many activities took place to celebrate including a full programme of free events for families and talks for all.  The park is supported by an active Friends of Bolam Lake group who were thrilled to hear yet again the park had achieved this award


Carlisle Park, Morpeth:

Carlisle Park is a multi-award winning park in the heart of Morpeth. Situated on the south bank of the River Wansbeck, it contains The William Turner Garden, formal gardens, an aviary, play areas, a paddling pool, ancient woodland, picnic areas, toilets, tennis courts, bowling greens, a skate park, and much more.

A paddling pool and play area are run by Morpeth Town Council and are immensely popular, providing an excellent play space for children of all ages.  Visitors can also enjoy peaceful woodland walks, a promenade along the river, or find a vibrant array of colour and a peaceful oasis in the formal gardens and the William Turner Garden.


Doctor Pit Park, Bedlington:

Doctor Pit Park is situated in the heart of Bedlington.

Families are catered for with high quality play facilities, a multi-use games area and a small skate park.  There is a well maintained bowling green and bowls club which is based in the pavilion building.

The pavilion offers a community room, full kitchen and toilet facilities and is available for hire by groups or individuals.

The Green Flag award recognizes the development of the park as both a hub of community activity and a safe, clean and green area for the residents of Bedlington.

The pavilion is home to Doctor Pit Bowls Club, and Bedlington Art Group they all work closely with officers and staff of Neighbourhood Services to raise funds to improve the park, and to provide activities and events for the local community.


Hexham Parks:

Hexham Parks are the vibrant centre of the town and the hub of many of the public events, as well as being a beautiful attraction in their own right. They are well used and loved by locals and tourists and have been awarded the Green Flag for more than 10 years running.

Scenically set next to the Abbey, the herbaceous borders and bowling green area of Hexham House grounds with the sensory garden and the glade are peaceful places to relax.

The Sele has spectacular views across the Tyne Valley as well as the popular skate park and children’s play area; and the bandstand of the Abbey Grounds with the Edwardian gated entrances offers a great venue for picnics or putting.

The community groups that use the site and local partnerships who have worked with us on this year’s application are thrilled to once again be part of the Green Flag community.


Castle Vale and Coronation Parks, Berwick-upon-Tweed:

These beautiful parks sit on either side of the train station in Berwick upon Tweed and have recently been revitalised by £1million Parks for People funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery.  

Castle Vale Park contains a lily pond, picturesque shelters, rock gardens and spectacular views of the Royal Border bridge as it crosses the River Tweed.

Coronation Park, to the north of the train station, is England’s most northerly park and is a pocket sized delight containing stunning herbaceous borders, a wildflower meadow, a contemporary pergola and a traditional shelter which provide places to rest and enjoy the timeless view of the River Tweed.

The parks, known collectively as Castle Parks, have regular events and are supported by the dedicated work of many volunteers and the Friends of Castle Parks.


Plessey Woods Country Park, Hartford Bridge, Bedlington:

Plessey Woods Country Park is located near Hartford Bridge, off the A192, mid-way between Bedlington and Cramlington and about 5 miles south of Morpeth.

The Park offers 100 acres of woodland, meadow and riverside to explore. The woodland is home to many birds such as the great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch and tree creeper, as well as animals including red squirrel, roe deer and fox.

The banks of the River Blyth are also an important habitat for wildlife, such as kingfishers, dippers and otters.

People have come to Plessey Woods for generations to enjoy the woods and the river. Known locally as Bluebell Woods, the country park is an ideal place for a family day out with great opportunities for getting close to nature.


Ridley Park, Blyth:

Ridley Park provides a variety of recreational opportunities for the local community and visitors. It is popular throughout the year as a destination for all age groups.

The Park has well established formal gardens, wooded areas and secluded areas which prove popular with families and walkers who want to enjoy time out in the fresh air. It offers a range of sporting activities including tennis courts and bowls as well as children’s play opportunities with specially designed junior and toddler areas at the southern end of the site.

One of the unique features of the park is a water play area installed in 2005 which has proved a great attraction for both the local population and those travelling from other parts of the North East to visit. The water play area is open most days during the summer and is free to use (as are the majority of the activities offered in the park).

For those looking for refreshment while visiting the park there is a café offering food and drink throughout the year and during the summer an ice cream van is on site most days. A further summer attraction in the park are the small fairground rides which operate most days (a small charge is payable for these).

There are regular organised events during the year led by the Friends of Ridley Park and other community groups which are publicised locally and in press where entry is free.