This week is national Love Parks Week. Organised by the Tidy Britain Group, it’s an annual celebration of the green and open spaces that are right on our doorsteps. The ones that many of us take for granted.
With more than 120 parks and open spaces in Hounslow, our borough has plenty to celebrate. In fact, our borough has been voted as having some of the best green spaces in the whole of London.
As part of the celebrations we have asked some local parks fans to talk about their favourite green spaces in the borough.
Here, Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Operational Services, Councillor Guy Lambert takes on us on a virtual bike ride through a selection of his favourite parks.
“I’ve been asked to talk about my favourite park, but there are so many gorgeous ones I frequent it’s hard to restrict myself to just one. Several times a week I go on a bike ride around the area – good to clear the mind, uplift the soul and make the body a bit less unfit!
“From my home by the River Brent in the heart of Brentford I head East on Brentford High Street. Soon there will be a cycle lane open through Watermans Park so I’ll be able to go through that, but even now I can see over the wall to the great new facilities there, designed in cooperation between the Friends and the council. I think it’s a triumph, though there is still some more work to do, and it’s amazing how popular it now is.
“My next park is a huge one – Dukes Meadows. This is a mixture between wild and cultivated and always a joy. I often stop off for a while to see the lazy Thames flowing by, usually with a crew rowing on it.
“After that I tack up to Chiswick High Road, doff my imaginary cap to Turnham Green and George Gilbert-Scott’s Christ Church, so perfectly placed on an elegant island of tranquillity amongst the bustle.
“Next is another huge park, Gunnersbury, so rich in variety – lakes, wildflower meadows, special orchards, an orangery and not one but two stately homes, pitches for all manner of sport and sometimes a musical or cultural event taking place on one of its fields.
“Not far from that to Boston Manor, with its Grade 1 listed Jacobean Manor about to reopen after millions of pounds of refurbishment. The manor looks out on parkland with a most astonishing and majestic Atlas Cedar tree with a trunk two metres across and an enormous canopy. I pass the lake, which is in the process of being completely renovated, then under the M4 which someone not very helpfully put across the park on stilts and go down through dense woodland to the river Brent, all looking very rustic. I can’t take tea at the Community Café there run by another splendid Friends group as it’s in the process of being rebuilt – later in the year maybe.
“Time to head home. I pick up a few essentials in the Coop or Morrisons and end my green odyssey with a quick whizz through St Paul’s Recreation Ground, rather formally laid out on flat ground in the middle of town. Plenty of space for a picnic or an impromptu game of something, and a dedicated dog walking area. I can stop to fill my water bottle at the recently restored fountain to the sound of local children playing in the brand new play park. Did I mention it? Yet another joint venture between a passionate Friends group and the council.
“So in about an hour’s ride, I can enjoy four parks from the inside and two that I pass by, as well as the banks of two local rivers. I feel quite privileged.”