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Yeovil Country Park, Chard Reservoir Local Nature Reserve and Ham Hill Country Park have been awarded the Green Flag Award for another consecutive year

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In a record-breaking year for number of parks receiving accreditation, Yeovil Country Park, Ham Hill Country Park and Chard Reservoir Local Nature Reserve are raising their prestigious Green Flag Award once more, officially recognising them as some of the best parks in the country.

The award is the international quality mark for parks and green spaces which aims to give everyone access to open spaces, as well as ensuring they are managed to a high standard, meet the needs of the community, promote good practice and recognise the hard work of staff and volunteers.

The parks and green spaces are judged on the following criteria: welcoming place; healthy, safe and secure; well maintained and clean; environmental management; biodiversity, landscape and heritage; marketing and communication: community involvement and management.

After two years that have seen our parks and green spaces play a vital role for people through lockdowns as a place to relax, exercise and meet friends and family safely, the news that Yeovil Country Park, Ham Hill Country Park and Chard Reservoir Local Nature Reserve have achieved Green Flag Award status is testament to the hard work and dedication of the South Somerset District Council Countryside team and volunteers that make the green spaces areas that everyone can enjoy.

We have our dedicated volunteering groups to thank for their hard work and help in achieving these awards. The volunteers turn up every week throughout the year to support the rangers in a variety of tasks including litter picking, path clearance, dry stone walling, tree planting, invasive species control, delivering events and so much more. The Friends groups for each site also help to raise vital funds to enable the rangers to deliver projects and events to further improves the country parks and nature reserves.

Ham Hill Country Park has also achieved the Green Heritage Site Accreditation, supported by Historic England, for the management of its historic features.

Recognised for its heritage and history, Ham Hill is 170 million years in the making, offering fantastic views across the South Somerset Levels to the Mendips, Exmoor and beyond. A nationally important Historic Monument, it is one of the largest Iron Age hillforts in the UK. Ham Hill also offers beautiful wildflower meadows, spectacular wildlife, fascinating geology and striking Iron Age rampart archaeology.

Ham Hill has been home to many, starting with the Stone Age man 5,000 years ago and  followed by the Iron Age man, the Romans (built an army garrison, a 19 room villa and continued with construction of the Fosse Way that runs from Lincoln to Exeter) and medieval villages. Evidence of these settlements have been found such as flint tools, currency bars, brooches, pottery and plenty of skeletons.

SSDC Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mike Best, shares their thanks, “We are really proud to be recognised for our extraordinary countryside sites. Our dedicated and hardworking Countryside teams and volunteers are to credit for our success.”

“The sites are carefully managed to ensure that both communities and wildlife are welcome, whilst careful considerations are made for environmental and conservation factors. We hope this award continues to attract and welcome generations of visitors.”

SSDC Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Sarah Dyke, adds, “We know that being environmentally friendly is important, so our parks are managed with this as our number one priority. It’s great to see the parks are getting the recognition they deserve.”

 Find out more about our country parks and nature reserves at www.visitsouthsomerset.com/explore.

Ranger and volunteers at Chard Reservoir

Ranger and volunteers at Ham Hill Country Park

 Rangers and volunteers at Yeovil Country Park

The Green Flag Award Scheme is run by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

Keep Britain Tidy is a leading environmental charity. It sets the standard for the management of parks and beaches, inspires people to be litter-free, to waste less and live more sustainably. It runs campaigns and programmes including the Great British Spring Clean, Eco-Schools, Love Parks, Eco-Schools, the Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces and the Blue Flag/ Seaside Awards for beaches. To find out more about Keep Britain Tidy, its campaigns and programmes, visit www.keepbritaintidy.org.

Any green space that is freely accessible to the public is eligible to enter for a Green Flag Award.  Awards are given on an annual basis and winners must apply each year to renew their Green Flag Award status.  A Green Flag Community Award recognises quality sites managed by voluntary and community groups. Green Heritage Site Accreditation is judged on the treatment of the site’s historic features and the standard of conservation. 

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