Hartlepool and East Durham parks have been recognised for meeting the highest of standards with an international award.
Summerhill and Ward Jackson Park in Hartlepool have both scooped the 2017 Green Flag Award, along with Horden Welfare Park, Horden Memorial Park and Hardwick Park in Sedgefield.
The award is given to parks which are well-managed, clean and safe.
The win was announced by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, which announced they are among those to receive the international quality mark for parks and green spaces.
Coun Dave Hunter, chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s neighbourhood services committee, said: “Despite the ongoing financial pressures facing the council, we continue to place a great emphasis on our parks and open spaces for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. It’s very reassuring to hear that both Ward Jackson Park and Summerhill have both been recognised for their high standards. “Our staff at both locations do a fantastic job and work together with volunteers and the local community to take great pride in these valuable town assets.”
The award comes during Love Parks Week, running this week, when millions of people across the country will be out enjoying activities from pond-dipping to zumba.
Run by Keep Britain Tidy, the campaign encourages people think about their park, share why they love it and celebrate the diversity of activities that happen every day of the year in parks.
In total this year, 1,797 UK parks, cemeteries, universities, museums, hospitals and shopping centres have met the tough criteria demanded by the Award, including 62 in the North East.
The charity said the Green Flag Award is an easy way for the public to see that their park meets the highest standards. Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “Research shows that parks are a vital and valued resource in communities across the UK and we are delighted that so many of them are meeting the high standards.”