Erewash Borough Council has retained its Green Flag awards at four popular leisure sites in the borough, it has been confirmed today (Tuesday 16 July) – making them among the best in the country.

The national award has again been awarded to Ilkeston’s Victoria Park, Straw’s Bridge Local Nature Reserve, West Hallam; West Park, Long Eaton and Ilkeston’s Pioneer Meadows Local Nature Reserve.

Victoria Park has also been honoured for the second consecutive year with a Green Heritage Award, which is granted to a Green Flag site that is deemed to be of local or national historic interest.

The Green Flag award is the benchmark national standard for England and Wales and is presented to high quality parks, green spaces and nature reserves that have excellent facilities and are well-maintained and well-managed.

Councillor Mike Wallis, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Leisure, says:

“This is another good news boost for Erewash. We are very proud to fly the Green Flags at the four sites, which are now rightly confirmed as among the best of the best in this country.

“Our continued success is testament to the hard work of our dedicated team who work all year round to manage these sites and we also send out a very big thank you to the volunteers and the Friends Group members who enthusiastically help us to maintain and further develop the popular sites. They play such a big part in making them such beautiful places for all to visit and enjoy.”

Victoria Park dates back to 1896 and won a national award last year thanks to the major heritage project that has restored its key Victorian features through a £740,800 National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

West Park is the largest in Erewash at 127 acres and offers an extensive range of sports and recreational facilities including an outdoor gym trail, a skatepark, a splashpad water park, bowls, tennis and football and cricket.

Straw’s Bridge Local Nature Reserve features three ponds that are surrounded by woodland, scrub, meadow and wetland – while it is also connected to the Nutbrook Trail. It attracts many types of birds but is particularly famous for its swans, leading to its affectionate nickname ‘Swan Lake’.

Pioneer Meadows is a popular Local Nature Reserve and regular visitors include schoolchildren who use the site for Forest School activities. The council’s network of Tree Wardens also carry out regular volunteering tasks at the site which includes cutting back vegetation and thinning of the woodland areas.