Parks and wildlife haven prove to be among the best green spaces

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By Walsall Advertiser | Thursday, July 19, 2012, 09:20

TWO Walsall parks and a local wildlife haven have been named three of the best green spaces in the country after retaining their Green Flag status.

Palfrey Park, Willenhall Memorial Park, and local nature reserve Merrions Wood have each held on to their prestigious title in recognition of their "well-maintained and well-managed" sites.

It comes after both parks have been boosted by new features this year to help add to the million visitors they already attract between them every year.

Over the last 12 months, Palfrey Park – the borough's first park to receive a Green Flag award and which attracts more than 400,000 visitors each year – has been boosted by the creation of a new community pavilion.

Retaining the title for the sixth consecutive year is an added bonus after its friends' group relaunched earlier this year.

Madeleine Holland, chair of Palfrey Park Friends and Users Association, said: "It's extremely good news. The Green Flag is a huge reward for the staff and volunteers who work tirelessly."

Willenhall Memorial Park, which has retained the accolade for the fifth year running, annually attracts more than 600,000 visitors who are now able to enjoy its newly-installed interactive water feature.

Councillor Sean Coughlan, chair of the Friends of Willenhall Park, said retaining Green Flag status was recognition of the "hard work and dedication" of local people.

"I would like to thank all of them," he said. "We have a park to be proud of and will continue to ensure standards are kept to a maximum level."

Merrions Wood, which forms part of the Great Barr Conservation Area and is renowned for its carpet of bluebells, retained it status for the third year running.

The 12-hectare site was the first managed by Walsall Council's countryside services to achieve a Green Flag award back in 2010.

Senior countryside ranger Morgan Bowers, who looks after it, said she was "delighted" while Anthony Harris, Walsall Council Coalition's portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said it was "a wonderful achievement for a wonderful site that means so much to residents and visitors alike".

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