Meet the Friends of Wollaton Park volunteer group whose weekly behind-the-scenes work has earned the Grade II listed Elizabethan Nottingham site a 2022 Green Flag Award.
Helping by gardening, clearing footpaths, protecting the residential deer and educating the public on their efforts, the site has earned its place as a Top 10 UK park in the 2022 Green Flag People’s Choice Award.
Between the weekly gardening club and the park rangers at Wollaton Park, they work collaboratively with the site parks team to ensure the general upkeep of the park and their hard work has paid off.
Colin Robbins is a volunteer park ranger and a member of the Wednesday morning gardening club and has given his time to the site over the last 18 months.
He said: “We get a lot of visitors since we’ve been looking after the garden which is encouraging that people are enjoying our hard work and our feedback from the public is positive.”
The Green Flag Award scheme recognises accommodating, well-kept green spaces that benefit the local community with modern facilities and outstanding beauty.
This respected accolade can help boost tourism in the local area, increase funding to improve the site and grant resources to help preserve the Hall’s unique history.
Active friends are an essential requirement of the award criteria and the ‘Friends of Wollaton Hall’ are always ready to lend a hand, allowing Wollaton to be the only site in Nottinghamshire to win.
There are between 10 and 15 regular members of the Friends of Wollaton group who volunteer each day they meet.
Regular gardener, Mary Coggins, 70, expressed her pride in her inclusion and the successes of the group.
“I enjoy gardening and as I live locally, I enjoy making the park look nice as it’s my closest green space,” she said.
The Camellia House was built in 1823 and is the oldest cast-iron-framed glass house in Europe, the only remaining one of its kind in England.
It is widely used, along with the Formal Gardens for hosting theatrical events and weddings, which means the preservation of the area by the group helps to keep its pristine look.
Kyle Heesom, Estate Lead at Wollaton Hall & Deer Park said: “Our volunteers are an absolute dream to work with.
It really gives me a sense of pride in making volunteers feel part of something special that is Wollaton Hall & Deer Park, we wouldn’t know what we would do without them.”
Their devoted efforts don’t go unnoticed, with Nottingham City Councillors and Wollaton residents displaying their gratitude on social media.
The Friends of Wollaton Park held its AGM tonight. They’ve made a really positive impact over the past few years with thousands of hours given to help maintain & improve @WollatonHall & park. I am very pleased to continue my support for such a remarkable group of volunteers.
— Cllr Zafran Khan 🏴 (@Khan4Wollaton) September 7, 2022
They hold regular activity days throughout the calendar year which included cleaning and conservation of rooms in the Hall, restoration works inside the Camellia House and actively supporting the Walled Garden project in 2022.
Learn more about the volunteers and support their work in the Friends of Wollaton Park Facebook group.