HISTORIC parks and landmarks across north Essex have been recognised with prestigious environmental awards.

Across the Colchester borough, five sites have been given Green Flag awards this year - Essex University’s Wivenhoe Park campus, Castle Park, Colchester Cemetery and Crematorium, High Woods Country Park and Cudmore Grove Country Park.

As well as receiving its 18th Green Flag award, Castle Park has also once again been awarded the Green Heritage award, which recognises its work to promote its historic surroundings.

Colchester Council's environment boss Martin Goss said:  “I’m delighted that all three sites have once again received Green Flag Awards – and especially delighted that Castle Park has been recognised with a Green Heritage Award.

"These prestigious accolades recognise the continuous hard work and dedication that our staff and volunteers put in to maintaining these areas and their facilities to such a high standard all year-round.

“I’m also delighted to be supporting the Keep Britain Tidy #GoGreenForParks campaign by lighting Colchester Castle and Town Hall up green this evening. I’m proud of all our wonderful green spaces. They are a wonderful community resource, providing a place to walk, play and meet up with friends during these unusual times, as well as being a haven for wildlife.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Council leader Mark Cory added: “These awards celebrate the dedication that goes into maintaining our parks and open spaces to such a high standard, and I’m delighted we have retained the Green Flag status. The cemetery and crematorium site is a community asset, providing a green space for people to take a quiet walk or a moment to reflect, as well as being a haven for wildlife.”

The award scheme, run by Keep Britain Tidy, sets the standards for outdoor space across the UK. A total of 161 sites in the east of England received the awards this year, including four in Tendring.

Clacton Seafront and Marine Gardens, Cliff Park in Dovercourt, Crescent Garden in Frinton and Weeley Crematorium have been given the designation.

A number of landmarks will be turning green to mark the announcement of the award winners, which are normally made in July but were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, this evening.

Colchester Castle and Colchester Town Hall will be going green to mark the borough’s success, joining iconic structures like the white cliffs of Dover, the London Stadium and Salford’s MediaCityUK.

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “We have always known just how important our parks and green spaces are for the physical and mental health of everyone.

“All the research shows spending time in good-quality green space can improve people’s health and wellbeing, that is why it is important that they are managed to the recognised standard of the Green Flag Award.

“This is now something that millions more recognise after the challenges of the past six months.

“All those involved in the Green Flag Award should be congratulated on their achievement.”

Every green space which is open to the public is able to enter for a Green Flag award.

To find out more or for a full list of winners across Britain, visit greenflagaward.org.uk.