The Green Flag award scheme has been running nationwide since 1996 and aims to set a benchmark for good quality green spaces. Judges look at a list of qualities including cleanliness, safety, community involvement, management and conservation.
The eight parks which won flags are Abbey Green, Barking Park, Beam Parklands, Dagenham Parish Churchyard, Greatfields Park, Mayesbrook Park, St Chad’s Park and Valence House Gardens.
Darren Henaghan, Corporate Director of Housing and Environment, said: “These awards wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the hard work of our parks team, ranger service and maintenance crews. A special mention should also go to the volunteers who put in many hours of unpaid work to keep their local park looking beautiful.
“We’re lucky to have so many excellent parks in Barking and Dagenham, from formal urban spaces to natural country parks. We hope that even more people will make the effort to come and visit these parks to see what our Green Flag winners have to offer.”
Barking and Dagenham’s eight winners are:
Set around the ruins of Barking Abbey, one of the London’s most important historic sites, Abbey Green is a key park serving Barking Town Centre with a playground and areas for quiet recreation. Also contains St. Margaret’s Church, the original parish church for Barking.
This Victorian park, opened in 1898, has recently undergone a major refurbishment, with help from a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant. It offers a boating lake, café, visitor centre, ornamental gardens and Splash Park wet play area. A range of community events take place with events for more than 500 school children per year.
Barking and Dagenham’s newest park, Beam Parklands offers wetland habitats that provide an important flood defence for homes in south Dagenham. A former brownfield site, visitors can now enjoy 8km of pathways and look out for rare wildlife like water voles and kingfishers.
Dagenham Parish Churchyard
The churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s, commonly known as Dagenham Parish Church, is managed by Barking and Dagenham Council in partnership with the Friends of Dagenham Parish Churchyard and the London Wildlife Trust.
A traditional London park with a distinctive boundary entirely screened by shrubs. A stone’s throw from the Gascoigne Estate and the A13, Greatfields contains a playground, ornamental grounds with two rose gardens, tennis, field sports, arts features and seating areas.
Recently re-launched as the UK’s first climate change park, Mayesbrook now has a large wetland area set alongside the meandering Mayes Brook, plus its two lakes surrounded by woodland. The park has an array of new facilities including a natural play area, an outdoor AdiZone gym and is now home to Sporthouse the largest indoor sports venue in the UK.
St. Chad’s Park
The principal park for the north of the borough, St Chad’s has ornamental grounds, a playground, tennis courts, basketball, two bowling greens, sports pitches, and wildlife area. It also now has an outdoor AdiZone gym, one of three in the borough.
Valence House Gardens
Set alongside Dagenham’s only surviving Manor House, the gardens are maintained by a team of dedicated volunteers. The gardens feature a Victory Plot vegetable patch, complete with its own air raid shelter, a thriving herb garden and beehives.