Wivenhoe Park voted one of the best parks in the UK

  • Date

    Tue 16 Oct 18

Wivenhoe Park – home to our Colchester Campus – has been named one of the nation’s favourite parks following a public vote.

Wivenhoe Park was placed top ten in the UK in the Green Flag Award People’s Choice vote covering more than 1,500 parks and green spaces.

Marcus Clayton, Grounds Manager at the University of Essex, said: “This year we’ve retained the Green Flag Award for the second year running, but to be voted top ten out of all the green spaces in the UK is absolutely fantastic. I’m lucky to be the custodian of this historic parkland – it’s a huge honour – and I couldn’t do it without my team.

“Over the last five years we have put in place a really ambitious plan to enhance Wivenhoe Park and I am delighted with the impact this is having on anyone who visits this amazing space. We’ve got lots of projects planned over the next year, including adding more picnic benches and new planting around our student accommodation to give students more outdoor social space. Everything we do is aimed at enhancing the experience.” 

The park is a striking landscape of more than 200 acres, providing a tranquil setting for the University’s campus community of more than 13,000 students and 2,300 staff.

Professor Anthony Forster, Vice-Chancellor at the University, said: “Marcus leads a Grounds Team which has done a superb job to ensure that the home of the University of Essex has been recognised as one of the UK’s top 10 favourite parks – and the perfect place not only to think big, but also to relax.

“Immortalised by the painter John Constable in 1816, the University is delighted to share our estate with visitors and I am sure our careful stewardship will ensure that Wivenhoe Park remains a special place and one of the nation’s favourite green spaces in years to come.”

The park is also home to a range of plants and wildlife including more than 2,800 trees, some of which are extraordinary examples of their species or have historic significance – including the cork oaks at Wivenhoe House which were grown from cuttings brought back from the Peninsular War by Major-General Francis Slater Rebow in 1814. 

The site also provides many different habitats including grasslands, woodland and reed beds, and has three man-made lakes which provide a habitat for a number of waterfowl and wader species.

Paul Todd, Green Flag Award manager, said: “Congratulations to everyone who has helped Wivenhoe Park become one of the nation’s favourites and a Green Flag Award People’s Choice winner.

“We know that parks matter to people and that those tasked with looking after them have faced and are facing some significant challenges.

“This award is the public’s way of showing just how much they value their parks and an acknowledgement to the hard work of the teams that make them such great places.”