With just two weeks of voting for UK's Favourite Parks remaining time is running out to help a park you love be named amongst the nation's favourites. This week our update takes inspiration from the amazing exploits of England's UEFA EURO 2022 winning squad, highlighting 15 parks nominated for UK's Favourite Parks which are near the birthplaces of members of the Lionesses squad.
Earlier this week the squad put out a letter calling on the candidates for Prime Minister to ensure girls have access to PE and opportunities to play football. To help young girls across not just England but all four Home Nations who aspire to become the next Alessia Russos, Kim Littles, Anna Filbeys and Rachel Furnesses they need places to get their starts in the game. That means high quality green space close to where they live which is protected for good. Places to kick a ball, run around and be active. As the Lionesses state in their open letter, "This is an opportunity to make a huge difference". The first step is by championing our local parks and green spaces and demostrating how much they mean to us.
Over 20,000 votes have already been cast in total for UK's Favourite Parks 2022. These fifteen parks are all located close to the birthplaces of members of the UEFA EURO 2022 winning Lionesses squad. They are showcased in alphabetical order by squad member, along with why they are so special according to their nominators:
Millie Bright's hometown of Chesterfield
Its nominator said: "It's a lovely park, treasured by the local population far and wide. The Friends Group of volunteers are always looking for ways to improve the facilities even though the park has some excellent facilities already but never sit back and are always looking for the next improvement."
Jess Carter's hometown of Warwick
St Nicholas' Park
Its nominator said: "It has everything. A walk or run through the trees, alongside the river and round the perimeter. A coffee shop with homemade goods, a huge area for children including a paddling pool, toilets, beautiful gardens and peaceful picnic areas. So beautiful!"
Mary Earps's home city of Nottingham
Its nominator said: "It's one of the smaller parks in Nottingham, but it's lovely! It's got a wonderful pond, a great team of volunteers who help look after it, and a good community spirit. And it was visited by the Queen in 2012!"
Alex Greenwood's home city of Liverpool
Its nominator said: "The park was in a poor state and not used as people felt unsafe until Liverpool Football Club and Liverpool City Council invested £18m in 2010 to restore the Isla Gladstone Conservatory, the lakes, landscaping and buildings to their former glory."
Hannah Hampton's home city of Birmingham
Its nominator said: "Grove Park is a beautiful neighbourhood park. On a sunny day you'll find it full of picnic goers and families playing and relaxing. It's a lovely spot for a short dog walk and is truly stunning in all seasons (but I’m a big fan of Autumn walks here). It's also steeped in history."
Lauren Hemp's home county of Norfolk
Its nominator said: "The field is home to two football teams, a Croquet Club and much exercise equipment."
Chloe Kelly's home borough of Ealing
Its nominator said: "The park has a wide mixture of delights. From the wildlife section to the sport and children's playground to the wild long grass left growing amongst the more formal cut grass. A pavilion which caters for refreshments / local community classes. I love the wildest best of all."
Fran Kirby's hometown of Reading
Westfield Road Recreation Ground
Its nominator said: "The park is tiny but precious to the local community, it's for bikes, kids' ball games and for all to catch-up with neighbours. It works hard, surrounded by housing, and provides a garden to those with none, it was even a pub-garden during lockdown! Next step partial rewilding."
Nikita Parris's home city of Liverpool
Its nominator said: "Great efforts made over the past two years to re-wild this park, wildflowers have been sown and grass left unmown- it’s added a natural informality that's calming to the soul and beautiful to look at, now enjoyed by birds, insects and people."
Ellie Roebuck's home city of Sheffield
Its nominator said: "A beautiful park, full of birdsong, joy and peace, but also life, fun, drink, food, sport, lakes and streams, bluebells and trees. A perfect refuge."
Jill Scott's home city of Sunderland
Its nominator said: "We have seen how important this park has become during and post-Covid. Residents and traders has come together to fundraise for Family Free Fundays in our beautiful park. Its a beautiful space that is well used for multiple purposes and by all ages."
Demi Stokes's hometown of Dudley
Bumble Hole Local Nature Reserve
Its nominator said: "A green space beside the prettiest stretch of canal in the Black Country; historical pump house, tunnel, birds, loved by walkers, dog walkers, cyclists, boats, canoes, paddle boards, there's a visitor centre. I bought a house to live there and my narrow boat is moored there."
Ellen White's hometown of Aylesbury
Eskdale Road Playing Field
Its nominator said: "In a village that is rapidly losing open space, the playing field provides an area for all residents to enjoy. From children on the play equipment, teenagers playing football, basketball and tennis, to the adults making use of the circular path for exercise, and walking their dogs."
Leah Williamson's home city of Milton Keynes
Its nominator said: "Willen Lake has played a huge role in my life and I visit at least once a week. It provides an amazing mix of tranquil and energetic spaces, from the Buddhist temple and wildlife to the play area and cafe. I think it must be the most popular park in Milton Keynes – no surprise!"
Lotte Wubben-Moy's home borough of Tower Hamlets
Its nominator said: "It's truly a democratic park, used and appreciated by various communities in Tower Hamlets not just the privileged and it came into its own during the Covid 19 pandemic."
With two weeks to go time is running out to help a park you love be named a Local Favourite, National Favourite, or even as the UK's Favourite Park 2022.
If you haven't cast your vote yet then it only takes a few moments to do so - simply search the list of nominations for parks near you, chose your favourite and submit your vote. Don't forget to click the link in the email you receive to verify your vote else it won't count towards your park's total!
By demonstrating our love for our local parks, we can champion what they mean to communities and in turn help make the case for their long-term protection. Without legal protection our local parks can so easily be lost. And once lost, a green space is lost forever. As well as voting for your favourite local park, you can play your part in this protection of treasured local parks by making a donation to support Fields in Trust's work.
Fields in Trust is the only national charity working across the UK to legally protect parks and green spaces for good. We already protect nearly 3,000 parks across the UK, but up to 94% of green spaces could remain endangered. With your help we can change that, for good.