Heavitree park wins ‘local favourite’ award in nationwide poll

Heavitree Pleasure Ground has been voted a ‘local favourite’ in a poll to find the nation’s favourite park.

The Exeter park finished in the top 20% of the entire public vote of the Fields in Trust poll, earning the popular green space the title of ‘local favourite’.

The overall winner was the Coastal Penrhos Coastal Park in Holyhead on the Isle of Anglesey. Stanley Park in Blackpool was voted England’s favourite park.

Heavitree Pleasure Ground wasn’t the only park in the city to receive nominations as part of the poll. Also getting votes from people in the city were Pinces Gardens & Cowick Barton Playing Fields, Ludwell Valley Park and Mincinglake Valley Park.

However it was Heavitree Pleasure Ground that struck a chord most with people in the city and elevated the park to one of the nation’s favourites.

Fields in Trust are an independent charity that has been protecting parks and green spaces for almost 100 years.

The hugely popular campaign returned this year for the first time since 2019 and covers the length and breadth of the nation to shine a light on the green spaces that hold a special place in our hearts.

Exeter prides itself on its green spaces and parks. The city enjoys a range of green open spaces including six Valley Parks managed by Devon Wildlife Trust, parks, sports pitches, 1,400 allotments and a number of cemeteries.

Cllr Josie Parkhouse, Lead Councillor for Leisure and Physical Activity, said: “Heavitree Pleasure Ground is a beautiful park that is so valued by the local community. It has got something for everyone here – free tennis courts, paddling pool, bowls and bike track, not to mention the open spaces that people come and enjoy, walk around and hear the birdsong.

“You’ve got these beautiful, mature trees. There’s just something for everyone.”

Cllr Parkhouse added: “It’s not just enjoying the physical activities that are available in our parks, but people also come to have that sense of mental wellbeing and calm, and connect with nature. It can get very busy in our city and it is great to have these beautiful parks on our doorstep, for people to relax and socialise.”

Parks have acted as refuge to many over the past few years and Fields in Trust is bringing back the campaign to find the UK’s Favourite Parks to ensure that they continue to be celebrated in a post-pandemic world.

The charity recently commissioned a study which found that almost half of us have visited local parks more often than we used to as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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