Why Oakwell Hall in Batley has been recognised as one of the top country parks in England
Oakwell Hall has been recognised as one of the top country parks in England, after grabbing a fistful of top awards.
Recently the Kirklees Council owned 110-acre site in Birstall gained its 16th Green Flag Award along with the prestigious Green Heritage Site accreditation for the third consecutive year – the only site in Kirklees to hold the status.
Earlier in the year Oakwell became one of only three sites in Yorkshire and Humberside to gain Country Parks Accreditation from Natural England, the government’s natural environment adviser.
It is among just 32 sites in the whole country to hold the award.
The site has also received a Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice 2020 commendation, putting the attraction in the top ten per cent of sites in the world among the travel website’s millions of reviewers. In addition, Visit England has awarded the park its Quality Rose Marque for 2020/21.
Councillor Walker, Cabinet member for Environment said: “These awards show how valuable the country park is to local visitors and those from further afield.’
“Having experienced a really busy period through the pandemic, the Oakwell site has offered a vital green space for people to reconnect with nature and improve their well-being’
“As the country enters a second lockdown, our open spaces are more important than ever, and whilst the museum, shop, café and toilets will close, visitors will still be able to enjoy the beauty of the park as we move through autumn Into winter.”
The Green Flag Award scheme is managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. It sets the benchmark for well-managed parks and green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.
Oakwell Hall is also one of just 109 winners of the coveted Green Heritage Site Accreditation for its management of the parks historic hall. The accreditation is supported by Historic England.
Run by Kirklees Council with a dedicated team of staff, volunteers and friends, Oakwell Hall’s countryside is managed for public and wildlife benefit and caters for people with a wide range of interests and abilities.
Formed from a mix of old woodland, farmland and a reclaimed colliery, the country park surrounds the Elizabethan hall and its walled gardens.
Well-marked footpaths – with many areas accessible to wheelchair users – bridleways, cycle routes, art and sculptural features are among the things that have helped boost the site’s reputation.