Double success puts two county parks among the nation's top ten

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Two South Yorkshire parks have been voted among the best in the country in a competition organised by the Green Flag Award organisation.

That body provides accreditation for parks which provide high quality facilities but also operates an annual ‘People’s Choice’ vote, to give residents the chance to decide which are the country’s most popular parks.

Elsecar Park and nature reserve in Barnsley and Clifton Park in Rotherham have both made it onto the list.

Each are part of their borough council’s portfolio of public spaces but they are both also supported by a ‘friends’ group, working to help maintain and improve the spaces.

Elsecar park has previously appeared in the list but dropped out last year, with this year’s listing reflecting the continued work of professionals and volunteers in the area.

Having two parks listed puts South Yorkshire in a unique position on the list, with the other eight scattered across the country.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet member Coun Sarah Allen, said the award was testament to the hard work of the staff based in the park along with the dedication of the park’s “friends” group. 

“Everyone works very hard behind the scenes to make the park so welcoming for visitors. The Friends of Clifton Park have once again provided invaluable support. All the staff, volunteers and visitors should be proud of this achievement,”  she said.

“We’re very proud of this wonderful accomplishment, especially as we’re the only park in England to have attained this award three years in a row. I would like to say a huge thank you to people who’ve played their part. This includes those who took the time to vote and helped the park achieve this wonderful accolade.”

Paul Todd, Green Flag Award manager, said: “We know that parks matter to people and that those tasked with looking after them have faced and are facing some significant challenges with shrinking resources.

“The number of people that took the time to vote for their favourite park is testament to how much they are valued.”

The nature reserve alongside Elsecar park includes a reservoir originally created to feed the canal system used to transport coal in the area and its position alongside the park made it popular with day trippers in an era where getting to the seaside was beyond the means of many families, earning the unofficial title of ‘Elsecar by the Sea’, a name resurrected for an annual event based in the park.