University campus voted one of best open spaces in the UK
Release Date 25 July 2011
The University of Reading campus has been judged as one of the best open spaces in the country with the award of the prestigious Green Flag.
Reading is only the second university to receive the award, which is a sign to visitors that the Whiteknights campus is well-maintained and well-managed, with excellent facilities.
Judges were impressed by the 134-hectare site which contains wooded areas, open meadows, a lake, shrubs and borders and county standard sports pitches. A network of paths links these different and exciting areas, making it an accessible and enjoyable place for all to take pleasure in.
The Green Flag Award scheme is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the UK. Grounds management, innovation and the way facilities are tailored to the needs of the community are taken into account.
This week, the University erected the Green Flag at a ceremony attended by staff and community groups, such as the Whiteknights Walkers who meet every week to improve their health and enjoy the environment. Also present were members of the Friends of Harris Garden who are dedicated to developing the Harris Garden within the campus and who provide volunteer gardeners to work alongside grounds staff in the garden.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Gordon Marshall said: "The Whiteknights campus is a beautiful green oasis where people can forget the pressures of living and working in an otherwise busy urban area.
"This award is testament to the hard work and expertise of our committed grounds and facilities maintenance teams. It is not surprising that Whiteknights receives thousands of visitors who take enormous pleasure in the many cultural, educational and recreational opportunities on offer and which make this campus a valuable asset to both the University and wider communities."
The campus is home to many animals and insects. Small areas of meadow are left uncut to provide habitats and food for seed-eating birds and butterflies, while the lake is a haven for fish, birds and insects. At dusk several species of bat can be observed feeding over the water.
There is a wonderful collection of trees, some of which are over 200 years old. The sports pitches are maintained to county standard and used by many University sports clubs and others. The grounds team work alongside colleagues in ‘Clean and Green' and security services to provide a safe and beautiful environment.
All award-winning sites have the chance to receive a further award from the Green Flag Plus Partnership - the People's Choice Award. This award is voted for by the public, so if you want to see the campus receive a national accolade, please visit the Green Flag Award website now to register your vote at http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/GreenFlag/GreenFlagAwardSites/SouthEast/Default.aspx?parkID=1631
Phil Barton, Green Flag Plus Partnership chairman, said: "I would like to congratulate this year's winners, who have worked hard throughout the year to keep their parks and green spaces at a high standard and ensure they are pleasant and enjoyable spaces for the whole community."
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