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Preston’s premier parks

Posted on - 26th November, 2009 - 9:37pm | Author - | Posted in - Recreation, Things To Do

Miller ParkI moved away from Preston over 10 years ago, but when I lived there, I was a big fan of Avenham & Miller Park. In those days my park visits were all about having a stroll and switching off, or else were about getting some picturesque running miles in, and avoiding pounding the tarmac.

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These days I do less relaxing in parks and alot of entertaining my 2 year old daughter in them. Parks are important to many people for many different reasons – relaxation, sport, fresh air, escapism, excercise – and I’m enjoying revisiting some of my old haunts with my daughter in tow to see what they have to offer since Preston became a city!

So, 10 years on, I find myself back in Avenham Park to see how it’s changed. In many ways it hasn’t – and this is a good thing. I always found it to be well kept and beautifully laid out. It’s grand and impressive with fountains, statues, flowerbeds and wide open spaces. The Japanese Garden is really pretty and fun to explore.

The efforts to improve the park are plain to see, particularly in the form of the new riverside pavillion. I love a cafe in a park and this rates as one of the best I’ve seen. A quick glance at a noticeboard in the park or at the excellent council webpages shows that other things have changed too, and the last 10 or so years have seen the welcome introduction of Heritage Lottery funding, Park Rangers, Green Flag Awards and community projects.

The real USP of Avenham Park is it’s proximity to the city centre. A quick turn down Winckley Street and you hit green space almost immediately with a walk across Winckley Gardens, before heading into the park at the Ribblesdale Place entrance. One thing though – I didn’t notice a signpost from Fishergate encouraging me to head for the park or to visit the pavillion. It’s so unusual to be able to escape the shops for a green fix like this, but if visitors don’t already know it’s there, they won’t find it – it’s tucked away!

I’m looking forward to getting around to Preston’s other premier parks in the near future. There’s a whole lot on offer, alot of Green Flags flying and a range of events from walks to woodland crafts and cycling to carnivals.

Huge and historic : Moor Park is the biggest of Preston’s parks and the oldest municipal park in the country, originating in 1833. It has a wealth of recreational facilities, as well as a lake and observatory.

Wildlife and wild fun: Fishwick Park boasts both a BMX track and a nature reserve, catering to a range of interests!

Pedders and peace: Ashton Park was originally the estate of the Pedders family, who founded the Old Bank of Preston. Now it features a peace garden along with play and leisure facilities.

Half-Pipes and horticulture: Ribbleton Park boasts a skate park and multi-use games area, in addition to its community garden.

Restoration and roses: Grange Park was built on the site of Ribbleton Hall, the layout of which has been recreated, and now boasts rose gardens and a grotto.

Nature and nurture: Haslam Park has a nature reserve and also features tree sculptures made in collaboration with local students.

This is a guest post by Kath Horwill writes the Parklover blog.

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