Leavesden Country Park wins national award for ‘most improved space’ of the year
25th November 2021
One of the best loved green spaces in Three Rivers district - which recently underwent massive restoration and improvement - has been recognised with a national award.
Leavesden Country Park in Abbots Langley won the Most Improved Space of the Year category at the Green Flag Awards - the international quality mark for parks and green spaces. The special virtual award ceremony in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Green Flag Awards was held on 24 November.
The rejuvenated park was officially celebrated at an event in 2019, after a £1.2million investment in heritage, environment, arts and community facilities, funded by Three Rivers District Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden.
Last month Leavesden Country Park achieved the Green Heritage Site Accreditation –the first park in Three Rivers to do so. Green Heritage Site Accreditation, supported by Historic England, is given in recognition of achieving the required standard in the management and interpretation of a site with local or national historic importance. Rickmansworth Aquadrome, Chorleywood House Estate, South Oxhey Playing Fields and Leavesden Country Park also all received Green Flag accreditation, which is judged by green space experts.
Cllr Chris Lloyd, the council’s Lead Member for Leisure, said: “I am absolutely delighted and proud that Leavesden Country Park has been recognised with this national award. The significant project of restoration and improvement was delivered with, and for the community. I would like to thank all our partners.”
The park, off College Road, is a part of the original grounds of Leavesden Asylum/Hospital and the St. Pancras School. The asylum and the school were both constructed in 1868 and continued in various forms until 1995. Today the park covers an area of over 27 hectares and consists of walking and cycling paths, a football pitch, wildlife areas, tennis courts, a children’s play area and an outdoor gym. The recent improvements were designed to conserve and enhance the diverse heritage of the area and encourage more people to enjoy the park. The project included restoring original features, enhancing areas, and creating a stunning sculpture trail to embrace these historic legacies.
Innovations also include the installation of new interpretation boards, accessible pathways, a remembrance garden, a full activity programme, a sensory garden, improved habitats and Leavesden HIVE - an education and wildlife hub. Working in partnership with the volunteers from the Leavesden Hospital History Association, East Lane Cemetery was restored, uncovering over 500 buried grave markers, creating a memorial centre piece and recreating the Leavesden Hospital Register of Names 1870-1995.
The park also benefits from improved accessibility for disabled users, cyclists and buggies. In addition, the sensory garden has an all year round surface and includes raised beds for planting.
The Green Flag Award is managed by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Launched in 1996, the scheme has now been running for 25 years.
For more information visit: https://www.greenflagaward.org/