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In Praise of Our Parks : Part Four


By david


As the 20th century progressed, many parks fell into a state of neglect through lack of funding and care. They were not considered a high priority by Councils when it came to allocating budgets. There were, of course, exceptions, due largely to the efforts of Friends of parks groups and private funding.

The Kyoto Garden, Holland Park, London (created in 1991).

Things began to change, however, with the new Millenium. Over the past few years, several reports and surveys have been carried out on our parks and open spaces (which, in the UK, amount to circa 20% of developed land).

Herbaceous “fields”, Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline, Scotland.

One report stated that well over a third of parks were in a serious state of decline. The outcome of these surveys, etc. has been the formation of the Parks for People programme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund. A programme of the same name also exists in the USA, managed by the trust for Public Land.

Young “Monkey Puzzle” tree, Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy, Scotland.

Today, our parks are once again thriving, special places, playing important roles in our communities. They are venues for music festivals, gardening shows, among many other events. Many parks now have ecology centres and Park Rangers, as their important role in wildlife conservation and education has been re-discovered.

Artificial nesting sites, Victoria Park, London.

In 2006 the Parks Agency wrote a report ahead of the formation of the Parks for People programme (“Understanding and Valuing your Park”). In the introduction is a paragraph which begins;

“There is no public park without a heritage. They all have a story to be told about the way they came into being and the way they have been used over the years.”

I have merely hinted at this in this series of blogs. Many members have submitted beautiful pictures of parks here on GrowsonYou. They can be viewed, together, in the encyclopedia, on the garden_parks page.

Our children in a local park, Spring 2008.


More blog posts by david

Previous post: In Praise of Our Parks: Part Three

Next post: A Little "Theme" Riddle



All i can say is Amazing and thank you so much for a most informative and colourful blog and may i have your permission to print this off,i know the team at West Park will love this...
Very Well Done

24 Aug, 2008


This is truly a super blog. Thank you, David.

Thanks also for taking up on my suggestion of separating into smaller paragraphs. Makes it very user-friendly.

A wonderful picture at the end. A great way to end the blog with 'the future' in a park ..... your children. Well done.

24 Aug, 2008


Many thanks, folks. I was only too happy to oblige, Terra, haha! Kev, of course you can print off the blogs! I've looked at West Park online - it is a really beautiful park. I enjoyed reading the page

-now there's a long address!

24 Aug, 2008


I could have given you that addy if i knew you wanted it David still thanks for the green light ..ill do it now..kev

24 Aug, 2008


Absolutely super David. Many thanks for this Blog.
A group of us are currently working closely through a neigbourhood partnership with our Council to improve our local Victorian park.It was a beautiful space and it still is, but it has been neglected over the last thirty or so years. A 'friends of the park' group has been set up to oversee its longer term development. As you say lots of positive work is now being done to preserve them and take them forward into the future as beautiful public spaces.

24 Aug, 2008


Oh My Goodness, Grenville! I've been blogging my notes collected over the past year or so, and here you are, a real person, doing just exactly what I, as a Joe Public park-user, have been writing about! You'll have to let us see something of what you are involved in! I "take my hat off "to you!

24 Aug, 2008


That's very kind of you David.
It's just that I've known the local park for many years since I was a child, and I still live in the same area. We are working very closely with our Council on a number of issues including the reinstatement of trees in our road as the original London Plane trees are now too large and intrusive after one hundred years of growing in the area, and they need to be replaced. So..... our residents group and our newly set up Neighbourhood Partnership with Bristol City Council has been working on these issues and several other matters as well .
As a result, the tree replacement budget has been substantially increased by the Council , and we now need only six more trees to be replaced and replanted in order to restore our road to its former Victorian chararacter and glory.
Quite a number have been replaced already, and more will be planted this autumn.
There is a large gap where a number of trees were removed many years ago and were not replaced, so we have campaigned to have trees planted in the spaces.
Hopefully this will also be done soon.
We hope to do the same with our park and have improvements made to take it forward as a legacy for the future. Local Primary aged pupils have sent their ideas and drawings for improvements to our elected Councillor, and this is an innovative way of moving forward.
It's a really good community effort, and its great to be part of this exciting new partnership.
I will let you know how things progress, but we are all delighted with the way it is working so far.
All best wishes,

24 Aug, 2008


Dear Grenville - this is all so exciting! And to involve the children as well! I hope that you will, in the future, have the most magnificent tree-lined approach to your wonderful garden (which, I still hope, - no, will see - for myself ,next year). What can I say but - Well Done, more Power to Your Elbows, etc!

With All Best Wishes - David and Family

24 Aug, 2008

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