SEVEN parks across Stourbridge, Dudley and Halesowen have been honoured with a top international award, singling them out as some of the best kept green spaces in the country.

Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge, Buffery Park, Priory Park and Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve in Dudley, Huntingtree Park and the Leasowes in Halesowen and Saltwells National Nature Reserve all achieved coveted Green Flag status.

The award is the international quality mark for parks and green spaces.

Mary Stevens Park and Priory Park have also achieved Green Heritage Site Accreditation, supported by Historic England, for the management of their historic features.

Finally, Abbey Road allotments in Halesowen scored in the category of Community Award Winners.

It was the first time Saltwells National Nature Reserve took a Green Flag.

Stourbridge News:

Priory Park in Dudley. Photo: News Group Camera Club Member Rik Freeman

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for public realm, said: "Our parks and green spaces have played a vital part in ensuring our residents have a safe place to relax, exercise and meet friends and family safely not only through lockdown but also as life starts to get back to normal.

"The news that so many of our parks and green spaces have achieved the Green Flag Award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our wonderful teams, friends groups and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make our green spaces a great place everyone can enjoy."

Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd said: "I would like to congratulate everyone involved.

"To meet the requirements demanded by the scheme is testament to the hard work of the staff and volunteers who do so much to ensure that Dudley borough has high standards of horticulture, safety and environmental management and is a place that supports people to live healthy lives."

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.

Stourbridge News:

Leasowes Park in Halesowen by News Group Camera Club member Rob Moody