A national vote has seen Essex University’s Wivenhoe Park retain its place as one of the best green spaces in Britain.

32,000 people voted in the Green Flag 2021 People’s Choice Awards to find the UK’s best green spaces, and Wivenhoe Park once again placed in the top ten in the UK.

It had previously placed in the top ten in 2018 2019, and 2020, and was one of 2,127 parks and green spaces to meet the standard for the award this year.

The park was designed by Richard Wood in 1765 having originally been a deer park, and after much remodelling and building, Essex University acquired the green space when it was founded in 1964.

Gazette: Modern – the uni’s Ivor Crewe Lecture HallModern – the uni’s Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall

The famous mansion, now known as Wivenhoe Park House, was originally commissioned in 1759, and has since been visited by Nelson Mandela, as well as Queen Elizabeth II.

And Wivenhoe Park, which is the base for the Colchester campus of Essex University, has some 2,800 trees and 40 acres of sports fields for students.

Green space is particularly valued across the country, with 93% of people saying that parks and green spaces are important to their local community following a survey by Keep Britain Tidy.

Marcus Clayton, who manages the grounds at the university, was thrilled to see the grounds maintain their status as one of the best in the UK.

He said: “To be nominated in the top 10 of the People’s Choice Awards for the fourth year running is fantastic news, especially after the last 18 months working on limited resources.

“Green space is very much at the forefront of health and wellbeing and I’m so pleased that we can provide the outstanding outdoor spaces we have here at the University of Essex for all our visitors to enjoy, especially our staff and students that call Wivenhoe Park home.”

He added: “Keeping our green spaces open for all to enjoy is such an important part of the role myself and the whole team play especially given the nature of what we have endured over the last couple of years.”

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Commenting on the result, Green Flag award manager Paul Todd congratulated the ten winners.

He said: “To be voted one of the nation’s favourite parks is a real achievement and testament to all the hard work done by the thousands of parks staff and volunteers up and down the country who work tirelessly to make their parks fantastic places that everyone can enjoy.”

The green space was also the inspiration for one of the John Constable’s most famous works, Wivenhoe Park, which was painted in 1816 and now hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

Other parks in the UK top ten were in Warford, Lanarkshire, Staffordshire, and Port Talbot.

Gazette: Picturesque – the university campus has 2,800 treesPicturesque – the university campus has 2,800 trees