My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Neath Port Talbot recognised as having some of country’s best green spaces

Gnoll Estate Country Park

Keep Wales Tidy has unveiled this year’s winners of the Green Flag Award – the international mark of a quality park or green space.

Green Flags signifying Full Awards will now be flying at Margam Country Park, Gnoll Estate Country Park, the Talbot Memorial Park and Victoria Gardens in recognition of excellent visitor facilities, high environmental standards and a commitment to delivering great quality green space.

And Community Award flags, given to locations which are welcoming, healthy, clean, safe and well environmentally managed, will be flying at the Amman Valley Trotting Club, the Riverside Park, Pontardawe, the Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company and the Vivian Park Nature Garden.

Margam Country Park

In recent times, parks and other green spaces have been a beneficial factor in improving the wellbeing of their visitors, following what has been a difficult time for many.

Cllr Peter Rees, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, said: “The Green Flag Awards are a well deserved accolade for these venues because of their continued high standards and provision of quality green spaces which also reflect the long history of this area. Well done to all the hard working staff and volunteers involved!”

A total of 248 parks and green spaces across the country have received the prestigious Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award – from country parks and formal gardens, to allotments, woodlands and churchyards.

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from the Welsh Government. Independent green space experts volunteered their time in early autumn to judge applicant sites against eight strict criteria, including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management, and community involvement.

Julie James, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change, said: “Green spaces are vital for mental and physical well-being and throughout the pandemic we have seen how important these spaces have been for local communities.

“Wales still holds more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites and it is fantastic to see more places in Wales receiving Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award.

“These landscapes play a vital role in delivering rich ecosystems and vibrant and resilient communities, and I congratulate all of the sites for providing excellent, year-round facilities and events for people in Wales.”