Five green spaces in Hitchin, Letchworth, Baldock and Royston have been named as among the best in the UK.

Green Flag awards went to outdoor spaces run by North Herts Council, among 2,216 sites across the country.

The award-winning green spaces were Oughtonhead Common in Hitchin for the eighth year running, Ivel Springs LNR (local nature reserve) in Baldock for the ninth year running, Howard Park and Gardens in Letchworth for the 10th year running, Norton Common LNR for the 14th year running, and Priory Memorial Gardens in Royston for the 14th year running.

The Comet: Norton Common volunteers working to install the new boardwalkNorton Common volunteers working to install the new boardwalk (Image: North Herts Council)

The Green Flag scheme is managed by Keep Britain Tidy, which also runs Love Parks Week from July 28 to August 4. The week encourages communities to look after and enjoy their local green spaces.

Cllr Steve Jarvis, executive member for environment and leisure at North Herts Council, said: "We are so pleased to continue our run of Green Flag Awards, and what better way to celebrate Love Parks Week than with five Green Flag Awards!

"These parks, nature reserves and gardens, as well as our other greenspaces across the district, play a vital role in residents’ quality of life, providing green havens to relax, exercise and meet others in.

"They also celebrate our history and help tell the story of our places and communities. Wild areas of greenspace and well-managed nature reserves also help fight climate change by improving biodiversity and habitats and storing carbon.


"We are so lucky to have these well-kept assets on our doorstep, and it really is thanks to our grounds maintenance contractors John O'Conner and the wonderful volunteers who work so hard on improving them each year."

Contractors John O'Conner grounds maintenance were shortlisted in this year's Pro Landscaper Business Awards for Grounds Maintenance Company of the Year.

The Green Flag announcement coincided with the Friends of Norton Common in Letchworth starting work on a boardwalk in the north-east corner of the nature reserve, to improve access through the main meadow - which gets very muddy in winter.

Access may be restricted while work takes place every Thursday to construct the boardwalk.