Two Bristol parks named among UK’s top 10 most valuable

Parks in the UK have been ranked according to ‘welfare value’ - and Bristol made the list twice
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Two Bristol parks have been named in the top ten most valuable recreation sites across the UK.

The Ashton Court and Blaise Castle estates were both featured in a study of the nation’s green spaces which has found that, in total, they are worth £25.6bn in ‘welfare value’ a year.

The Blaise Castle estate near Henbury was found to be worth £12,921,910 in welfare value a year.The Blaise Castle estate near Henbury was found to be worth £12,921,910 in welfare value a year.
The Blaise Castle estate near Henbury was found to be worth £12,921,910 in welfare value a year.

Ashton Court, a 10 minute drive from the centre of Bristol, is said to be worth £7,773,005 in welfare value and Blaise Castle near Henbury made the top three at £12,921,910.

It’s not hard to see why - Blaise Castle features its own ‘folly castle’ set in 400 acres of lush parkland, while Ashton Court covers 850 acres of woodland, sports magnificent old oak trees and is home to hundreds of deer.

Bristol was the only UK city apart from London to appear more than once on the list.

The research was funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and has created an outdoor recreation valuation tool (Orval) which assesses the value provided by each park, wood, riverside walk, country path and beach across England and Wales.

The full list

  1. Hyde Park, London – £24,101,440.
  2. Sutton Park, Birmingham – £15,627,180.
  3. Blaise Castle estate, Bristol – £12,921,910.
  4. Hampstead Heath, London – £12,149,370.
  5. Windsor Great Park, Windsor – £9,026,620.
  6. Croxteth Hall, Liverpool – £8,496,720.
  7. Ashton Court, Bristol – £7,773,005.
  8. Southampton Common, Southampton – £7,408,252.
  9. Bute Park and environs, Cardiff – £7,258,230.
  10. Greenwich Park, London – £7,090,455.

Researchers ranked each park in terms of value for money and wellbeing, and discovered that small parks delivered the highest recreation value.

‘Recreational access is not the same for all people’

Brett Day, a professor of environmental economics at the University of Exeter and one of the authors of the research, said: “The great contribution of this study is that it puts a figure to the value of our green spaces: £25.6bn a year.

“The size of that benefit stands in stark contrast to the deep cuts in green space budgets across UK councils, cuts that threaten to condemn our green spaces to neglect and disrepair.

“The Orval tool makes explicit the very real, but all-too-often-ignored, losses that people endure as a consequence.

“Recreational access is not the same for all people, not just because of where they live but because of things like access to a car.

“Orval can show decision-makers how to locate new facilities in a way that will provide the most benefit to more disadvantaged groups and give them better access to the environment.”

Ashton Court was valued at £7,773,005.Ashton Court was valued at £7,773,005.
Ashton Court was valued at £7,773,005.

The report also found that dog owners were four times more likely to use recreation spaces.

But people from ethnic minority backgrounds and in less affluent socioeconomic groups were less likely to engage in outdoor recreation, even when given the same recreation opportunities.

A white person is 1.8 times more likely to take a trip to a recreation site than a black person, and the richest socioeconomic group is 1.6 times more likely to take a trip than the poorest.

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