Local park users celebrate the award of Pitsford's Green Flag

 Northampton has one of the UK’s finest green spaces right on its doorstep, it has been confirmed today.

Pitsford Water Park and nature reserve and Brixworth Country Park have been jointly awarded coveted Green Flag status for the first time. The Green Flag awards – handed out by Keep Britain Tidy – highlight outdoor spaces with excellent, well maintained facilities for visitors.

The award adds to Green Flags that have been retained in three other water parks in the region – Alton Water near Ipswich, Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire and the region’s largest reservoir Rutland Water.

A joint celebration is being held at Pitsford Water today by Anglian Water, which owns and manages Pitsford reservoir and water park, Northamptonshire County Council which manages Brixworth Country Park, and the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust which manages Pitsford Nature reserve.

Together the three organisations provide a host of facilities on the site including cycle and walking trails, birdwatching hides, play areas, a café and a sensory garden as well as activities like boating and fishing. The area was developed with the help of lottery funding under the Countryside Access for All project.

Jake Williams, recreation manager at Anglian Water, said: “We are extremely proud to be raising the Green Flag today at Pitsford for the first time. This is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication from staff and volunteers at Anglian Water, Northamptonshire County Council and the Wildlife Trust.

“This really is a wonderful asset to Northampton and the surrounding area – there is so much to see and do whether you love fishing, wildlife watching, cycling or just spending a day out with the family in a beautiful, tranquil spot. We are especially proud as this is the fourth Water Park in our region to get Green Flag status – our reservoirs were created to provide water for millions of households but it is fantastic that they can also provide a home for wildlife and a place for people to enjoy themselves as well.”

Sarah Gibbs, Senior Reserves Officer for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Pitsford Water Nature Reserve is a fantastic site visited by many for its tranquil beauty and wildlife spotting opportunities.

“It’s great that the reserve forms part of the Green Flag Award as there is so much wonderful wildlife to discover year round - from butterflies and dragonflies to waterfowl and migrating waders. The award helps recognise the hard work by staff and volunteers to manage and maintain a safe and welcoming environment."

Cllr Robin Brown, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “This is a wonderful accolade for Brixworth Country Park and our partners at Pitsford Water, and a reflection of the efforts of the rangers and volunteers who work hard to make sure the park is a top quality visitor attraction.

“I would encourage anyone who hasn’t been to Brixworth Country Park before to pay us a visit and find out what this award-winning park has to offer.”

Grafham Water sees thousands of people coming throughout the year to walk and cycle the trails, go out fishing on the water, watch wildlife at the Wildlife Trust nature reserve or simply enjoy a family day out.

Rutland Water Park is gearing up for an action packed summer holiday season. The beach area is open once again throughout the school holidays giving families a safe place to paddle, play and sunbathe with trained lifeguards on duty. Visitors can also hire bikes, take part in watersports, see the famous Rutland ospreys at the Wildlife Trust nature reserve, have a meal and lots more.

This year will see the first live concert on the site as top Abba tribute band Bjorn Again perform on August 15. And also new to the park is Bugtopia Zoo, home to all kinds of lizards, insects, caimans and other amazing species.