It’s official – Rouken Glen Park is the best park in the UK bar none.
The East Renfrewshire park was crowned the country’s finest by the national charity Fields in Trust at its annual awards event on Wednesday night (November 30).
Following a nationwide vote to find the country’s favourite local green space, a massive 214 UK parks were nominated and over 10,000 votes were cast with the top four parks shortlisted, one from each of the home nations.
After all the votes were counted Rouken Glen came out on top as the winner, with East Renfrewshire residents sending a clear message that they love their park.
Castle Gardens in Antrim, Northern Ireland, Pontypool Park in Torfaen, Wales, and Preston Park Rockery in Brighton, England, were the other finalists.
Councillor Vincent Waters, East Renfrewshire Council’s Convener of Environment, said: “Rouken Glen has always held a very special place in the hearts of all its visitors and now it’s official – it’s the best park in the UK. This is a fantastic accolade to win and is just reward for all the hard work our dedicated staff and volunteers have put in to improving the park over the last few years. It has unrivalled natural beauty and there is something for all ages to enjoy. Rouken Glen has been loved by all for more than 100 years, and will continue attract thousands of visitors to East Renfrewshire in the years to come.”
Helen Griffiths, Fields in Trust Chief Executive, added: “Many congratulations to Rouken Glen Park on being named the winner of our UK’s Best Park, as voted by YOU! 2016 award. It’s a beautiful green space and well deserving of the accolade. The number of parks nominated this year and the votes cast across the competition show just how much the public cherish their local green spaces.
“The people of East Renfrewshire have sent a clear message that they love their local park and I hope that East Renfrewshire Council will recognise this by working with us to safeguard Rouken Glen Park as a place for community sport, play and recreation forever.”
The Fields in Trust Awards, now in their fifth year, are a celebration of the achievements of individuals and organisations who have worked over the last year to ensure that everyone has access to protected outdoor recreational space.
The award comes after the completion of a £3m transformation project in Rouken Glen this summer.
Improvements to the park include:
A refurbished Pavilion Visitor Centre, which features a ‘History of Rouken Glen Park’ exhibition
A £270,000 inclusive children’s playground designed to be accessible for all with more than 25 pieces of equipment including an area for wheelchair users to enjoy, a dedicated toddler space and a multi sensory section
Restored Glen Path area enabling visitors to retrace the footsteps of the Victorians who worked at the Newfield printworks and witness remnants of the park’s industrial and social heritage
Re-developed Walled Garden featuring new planting schemes, accessible paths, a paved area and poetry plaque
Extensive conservation work on the boating pond - affectionately known as ‘Swan Lake’.
The regeneration of Rouken Glen was jointly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and East Renfrewshire Council.
Visitor numbers at the park reached nearly 1,000,000 last year and it was described as “a place for people and nature” as part of its nomination. It also comes shortly after the popular visitor attraction received its sixth Green Flag Award for being well-maintained and well-managed, with excellent facilities.