TWO of Reading’s most popular open spaces have once again been recognised as among the best in the country.

The Forbury Gardens and Caversham Court Gardens have both received  Green Flag and Green Heritage Site awards.

READ MORE: Woman's warning about 'dog snatchers' in Reading

The Green Flag recognises high-quality maintenance, excellent wildlife and climate-friendly practices.

This month, parks and green spaces across the country will be raising their Green Flag Award with pride in a year when millions of people have seen the value of having great quality green spaces on their doorstep.

As well as a Green Flag, Caversham Court Gardens has also received a GreenHeritage Site award, which is awarded for parks which have conserved their historical features to a high standard and maintain their historic character and appearance.

Green Heritage Site awards are made to sites that have particular local or national historic interest.

To be recognised with a Green Flag award, parks or open spaces have to demonstrate not only that standard is maintained but that continuous improvements are being achieved.

Cllr Karen Rowland, Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I am delighted that yet again, two of our most popular open spaces have been recognised by Green Flag.

“It is a clear reflection of the hard work put in by both the council and from voluntary organisations throughout the year to keep these parks in such good condition.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to all of those involved in the maintenance of these open spaces for their achievement.

“This year more than ever, people are valuing our precious outdoor spaces.

“Spending time in our beautiful parks and open spaces is incredibly beneficial for everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing.

“The award this year for The Forbury Gardens is even more poignant following the tragic events that took place there in June.

“Going forward, the park will be an important part of the healing process for many and a focus for reflection and commemoration.”

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

The Forbury Gardens and Caversham Court Gardens are two of more than 2,000 sites across the country to collect the award for 2020.

READ MORE: Jump in Reading Covid cases in 24 hours

Commenting on Reading’s double success, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “This year, more than ever, our parks and green spaces have been a lifeline and we know that millions of people have used them to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.

“It is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff and volunteers that, despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors, Reading Council has achieved the highest international standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”