Public vote places Colchester Campus in top 10 parks

  • Date

    Thu 3 Dec 20

Wivenhoe Park in the summer

Wivenhoe Park has retained its place among the UK’s most popular parks for the third year running, after a public vote.

Public vote places Colchester Campus in top 10 parks

Wivenhoe Park, home since the 1960s to the University of Essex, is among the ten winners in the 2020 People’s Choice Awards.

It is the only university campus to achieve this honour.

Marcus Clayton, the University’s Grounds Manager, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the University. It is an amazing honour to be voted into the top ten for the third year running, and to again be the only university. It’s testament to the dedication and hard work my Grounds team put in day in, day out. I’d like to personally thank them and all that voted - without you this award would not have been possible: thank you!”

Wivenhoe Park is home to three lakes, 2800 trees, car-free jogging routes, one of the UK’s only disk golf courses and 30 acres of sports fields, as well as rare bees, moths, spiders, snakes and muntjac deer.

In recent years, the University’s Grounds Team have taken steps to increase biodiversity, including installing over 100 additional bird and bat boxes and allowing greater areas of wild planting. The pesticides used on the campus are now close to 100% organic.

In addition to the 220-acre Park being home to the University of Essex, this year it has played a vital role as a community asset, open to all.

Professor Anthony Forster, Vice-Chancellor, said: “To retain our place in the top ten People’s Choice Awards for the third year running is an amazing achievement, and testament to Marcus, the team and the work they undertake year round across our three campuses.

“At Essex, we attract students from around the world. The opportunity to live and to study within the glorious parkland of Wivenhoe Park is an experience few forget.

“We have all come to value our green spaces even more this year and we see it is particularly important that the local community feels able to make use of this amazing asset. We hope this award will further raise the profile of Wivenhoe Park.”

Wivenhoe Park takes its place in the 2020 top ten alongside public spaces from across England, Scotland and Wales, a list that includes Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the site of the London 2012 Olympics.

The park has a rich history. Thomas Reynolds was asked to design Wivenhoe House in 1759. The Grade II mansion survived England's worst-ever earthquake in 1884 and is now a four-star hotel. John Constable painted the park in 1816. His masterpiece hangs in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

The People’s Choice Awards allow the public to vote for their personal favourite among the 2061 publicly-accessible parks that received a Green Flag Award in 2020.

More than 59,000 votes were cast this year.

In October, Wivenhoe Park retained its Green Flag Award - the fourth successive year in which our campus has received this honour. Green Flag Award winners have the highest possible environmental standards, are beautifully maintained and have excellent visitor facilities. A Green Flag Award winner can claim to be among “the very best parks and green spaces in the world".

The Green Flag Award scheme is run by Keep Britain Tidy, a leading environmental charity.

Commenting on the result, International Green Flag Award manager Paul Todd said: “I would like to congratulate our ten worthy winners and thank all the thousands of parks staff and volunteers across the country who have gone the extra mile this year to ensure our country’s parks and green spaces remain such fantastic places to escape to and enjoy.

“We know how important quality parks are to people of all ages in every corner of the UK and so, for these parks, this public recognition of just how much they are loved and valued is a real achievement.”