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Celebrate your parks

Posted on 03 July 2017

Love Parks Week is 14-23 July and National Parks Week is 24-30 July so our Senior Landscape Architect Julia muses on what that means for the East of England.

National Parks Week this year is at the end of July, which coincides with the end of the school summer term, when there is a rush to go away on holiday. I have fond memories of spending summer holidays in the Lake District climbing Helvellyn, walking round the Ullswater and generally enjoying the countryside. (Although, actually, most of the times my dad and I climbed Helvellyn were in the less favourable conditions of the winter when snow and ice were common occurrences!)

The Lake District is one of 15 designated National Parks in the UK, from the Cairgorms in Scotland, down to the South Downs on the south coast. The National Parks are protected by law to preserve beautiful areas for the nation. In the East of England, we have the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, which have the equivalent status of a national park.

The Broads is Britain’s largest protected wetland with some of the UK’s rarest plants and animals. It is a fascinating landscape, encompassing windmills including the five-storey Horsey Windpump, ruins like St Benet’s Abbey, the sandy beach at Winterton-On-Sea and small communities such as Bungay. With this diversity and being only a couple of hours from London, there’s no wonder it’s protected to retain its special qualities.

Living in Hertfordshire, I can see the pressures on land that come from development and increasing population. The provision of attractive accessible green spaces is vital for the health and wellbeing of everyone - and that's where Love Parks Week comes in. It's important to celebrate our local parks. I am in the privileged situation of being a Landscape Architect, working with communities to improve their parks and open spaces. Who doesn’t want to walk round an urban park, in the sunshine, looking at veteran trees? I’m so lucky to be paid to do so!

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