Ilford’s Valentines Park voted sixth best open space in the country
A historic park, which opened to the public 100 years ago, has been described as Ilford’s “jewel in the crown” after being voted the country’s sixth best open space.
Valentines Park, Emerson Road, Ilford, has beaten off stiff competition to be named among the top 10 best parks in Keep Britain Tidy’s prestigious People’s Choice Award.
Organised by the Green Flag Plus Partnership, which gives out Green Flag status to the best open spaces, the park came out sixth against a staggering 1,424 parks in the annual poll.
Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets came top.
Chairman of the Valentines Mansion Trust, John Manuel, of Tillotson Road, Ilford, said: “It is absolutely wonderful for the park to be recognised, especially after all the work that has gone into the site and mansion in recent years.
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“It is great to think the park is appreciated and esteemed by others, especially as Redbridge has many other green spaces.
“I think people like the fact, by urban standards, it is a large park and you can feel like you are in the middle of the English countryside on a quiet day. There is also a good variety of trees and plants.”
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The open space, which was visited by the Queen in March, saw its greatest change in 1912 when the whole estate became a public park.
Mr Manuel added: “When I retired the park was one of the reasons my wife and I decided to stay in the area, we are very fortunate to have it in Ilford. Many people don’t realise it is here and it really is a jewel in the crown.
“I think the prestigious award will encourage more people to visit the park, particularly from neighbouring boroughs.”
Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “With more than 7,000 votes, it is fantastic to see how much people value their green spaces.
“There is a fantastic range of winning sites from university campuses to cemeteries, which provide places for people to enjoy time out from modern life.”
Find more on the awards at www.keepbritaintidy.org.