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Green Flag for Gunpowder Works

Tuesday 18 July

Local park named one of UK’s very best green spaces

Oare Gunpowder Works Country Park has been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as one of the very best in the world.

The country park is among a record-breaking 1,797 UK parks and green spaces that will today receive a prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space.

This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

Cllr David Simmons, cabinet member for environment and rural affairs at Swale Borough Council, said:

"We are absolutely delighted to once again receive a Green Flag Award for Oare Gunpowder Works Country Park.

"We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and this award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining the country park to such a high standard.

"This recognises the hard work put in all year round by all the partners involved in the park – the council, the active friends group, the Countryside Management Partnership and all the members of the steering group."

Local Cllr Mike Henderson, whose ward includes the country park, is chairman of the steering group which guides the maintenance and improvement of the gunpowder works, and is a member of the friends group of volunteers who support the country park. He said:

"Through the hard work of everyone involved in Oare Gunpowder Works the whole area is increasingly a delightful place for Faversham people to enjoy.

"Additionally it is improving all the time as a haven for wildlife, which helps to achieve the Green Flag award.

"The “Friends” group volunteers every Thursday morning and all day on the second Sunday each month. There are around 15 people who volunteer regularly and thanks are due for the big improvements they have made.

"The latest project has been creation of a copse of alder trees plus seats for a woodland picnic. The result is that even more local people now enjoy the peaceful walks throughout the site."

International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said:

"We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme.

"Each flag is a celebration of the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. The success of the scheme, especially in these challenging times, demonstrates just how much parks matter to people."

Oare was once one of the main gunpowder factories in the south east, and the country park is one of the best places to discover history of gunpowder manufacturing in a tranquil woodland setting. The site was a key ammunitions factory during the First World War, and the country park is a nationally important archaeological site and is designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The park has a rich variety of habitats including woodland, wetlands and open glades, meaning that the site is wonderful place to discover wildlife. Birds, bats, amphibians, and much more call this place home, and make the country park a perfect walk or cycle ride.

Anyone interested in joining the Friends of Oare Gunpowder Works, or helping them in their conservation work at the country park, can find out more on their website or by joining them on one of their activity days on the second Sunday of the month at 10:30.