HISTORIC park lands and prized parks have been recognised with environmental awards.

Essex University’s Wivenhoe Park campus, Castle Park, Colchester Cemetery and Crematorium, High Woods Country Park and Cudmore Grove Country Park have all been awarded Green Flag awards.

The awards, run by Keep Britain Tidy, aim to set standards for outdoor space.

Green Flag judges praised the university’s efforts to ensure biodiversity, landscape and heritage were maintained and enhanced.

They added the university “has a well-known and respected reputation in this area and many within the industry will be looking to take their lead from those working here”.

It is the third year in a row the university has retained the status.

Grounds manager Marcus Clayton said: “Our green spaces play a vital role in both staff and student wellbeing. We must not only maintain, but enhance, our green spaces.

“Being the custodian of this historic parkland is an honour and I have a great team who understand the importance of not only meeting the benchmark standards but going beyond, to the next level.”

In recent years the university team has taken a number of steps to encourage biodiversity including adding new wildflower areas and bird and bat boxes.

The team also use 97 per cent organic products as fertilisers and aim to reach 100 per cent by next year.

The university’s Colchester campus is based in the 200-acre Wivenhoe Park which, in 1816, was immortalised by landscape painter John Constable.

In total 1,970 locations picked up Green Flag Award across the UK.

Other successes were Weeley Crematorium Gardens and Crescent Gardens, Frinton.

The council also holds Green Flags for Clacton’s Seafront Gardens and for Cliff Park, Dovercourt, and these will be re-assessed by Keep Britain Tidy judges in the coming weeks to see if they will be retained.

Michael Talbot, Tendring Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “To be awarded these top awards is a sign of the high quality of open spaces we provide across the district, and to then hold onto them is no mean feat.”