Parks and Gardens Win Green Flag Awards for 7th Year Running

Bury St Edmunds beautiful parks and gardens retain the prestigious green flag award for the seventh year in a row.

The Green Flag Awards are run by Keep Britain Tidy and a green flag is awarded to parks and that are safe, clean and well looked after.

The historic Abbey Gardens visited by over 1.5 million people a year, Nowton Park and West Stow Country Park, all situated in and around Bury St Edmunds have again been awarded green flag status.

Abbey Gardens (photo by Shawn Pearce)

The Abbey Gardens in the heart of Bury St Edmunds is the perfect spot for enjoying peace and quiet whilst watching the world go by.

The award-winning 14-acre park is on the site of a former Benedictine Abbey, once a power house of medieval England. Internationally renowned for its colourful and attractive displays and the heritage of its backdrop make the gardens a very special place to visit and visitors come from all over the world to see it. 

It is not hard to understand why the Abbey Gardens have won the prestigious Green Flag Award for the seventh year, it is a stunning venue for the many and varied cultural events which take place in Bury St Edmunds including the annual Bury Festival.  

Created in 1831 by Nathaniel Hodson, the Abbey Gardens was originally a botanic garden laid out in the same style as the Royal Botanic Gardens in Brussels. In 1936 the concentric circles were replaced by the sixty-four island beds which, together with illuminations, formed part of the Coronation celebrations for George VI in 1937.

Today, approximately 20,000 plants are bedded out in the spring for the summer display plus 12,000 plants and 20,000 bulbs in the autumn for the spring display.

Nowton Park (photo by Shawn Pearce)

Nowton Park is renowned for the vivid display of daffodils that burst into life each spring. The park consists of over 200 acres of West Suffolk countryside. 

A substantial play area is also sure to keep the children occupied, along with the numerous paths that are ideal for cycling. A perfectly clipped hedge maze, designed in the shape of an oak tree and consisting of 2,500 hornbeam trees and over two miles of hedging is also bound to keep you entertained for an hour or two! 

Take a leisurely woodland walk and admire the wildflower meadow, sown in 1990. The blossoming wildflowers attract a thriving butterfly population, introducing record numbers into the park. Alongside the picture perfect landscapes, Nowton also has two scenic ponds, both of which are rich in aquatic life. 

Experience the original grandeur of the estate with a walk down the 19th century lime avenue, planted back in 1880. At the end of your exploration, head to the park’s café to enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake. 

West Stow Country Park

Surrounding the West Stow Anglo Saxon Village and with 125 acres of unspoilt countryside, trails, heath and woodland walks, there is plenty to explore at West Stow Country Park

For wildlife enthusiasts there are two bird hides and a bird feeding area as well as a lake and the River Lark with all the life that this attracts. 

Perfect for picnics on sunny days or energetic winter walks and with an adventure playground for children, this is an ideal family destination.

Cllr Joanna Rayner, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “We pride ourselves in recognising the value and investing in leisure and culture – from The Apex to our parks and open spaces, they all add to the reasons why people want to live and work in West Suffolk and enjoy their quality time here. 

"Some of them such as the Abbey Gardens also attract visitors from outside of the area, which in turn has a positive impact on our local businesses and the economy. But for the residents we represent they are simply a place where people can go for a walk or a run, relax and enjoy time with their loved ones amid beautiful surroundings.”