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Royal Fort Gardens awarded prestigious Green Flag status

Royal Fort Gardens has been recognised as one of the country's top parksUniversity of Bristol

Press release issued: 11 August 2023

The University of Bristol’s Royal Fort Gardens has been bestowed with a coveted Green Flag Award, officially recognising the gardens as one of the country’s best parks.

The Royal Fort Gardens, situated in the heart of the main University of Bristol campus, were originally designed by renowned 18th century ‘English Landscape’ architect Humphry Repton. 

Royal Fort Garden began life as a Civil War fortification created to defend the city in the 17th century. It's now a popular recreational spot, with the grand Royal Fort House providing a picturesque backdrop to the secluded gardens which feature popular pieces of public art alongside a pond, trees, and biodiverse habitats. 

Alan Stealey, the University of Bristol’s Head of External Estates, said: “The Royal Fort Gardens contribute to the vital green spaces required to relax, exercise and meet colleagues, family, and friends. We are very proud of our garden team for all the hard work, dedication and expertise that have made this Green Flag Award achievable; as we are for all our staff in Gardens and Grounds for their contributions to the upkeep and development of the university’s green estates.” 

Artworks hosted in the gardens include the mirror maze called 'Follow Me'. This has proved a popular attraction with students, staff, and visitors. It was designed by internationally recognised artist Jeppe Hein to mark the University’s centenary in 2009. Another addition is 'Hollow' – an intricate structure, described as a modernist grotto, made from 10,000 wood samples collected from across the world. It was created by Katie Paterson, made in collaboration with architects Zeller & Moye, and unveiled in 2016; and recently a new sculpture of Henrietta Lacks (by Helen Wilson-Roe) the first permanent, life size, statue of a Black women in a UK public space.

Royal Fort Garden also features a wildflower meadow which was planted as part of the 'My Wild University' project to help boost the number of pollinators. The area is dedicated to the winners of the Bristol Teaching Awards (BTAs), who have been honoured with an everlasting plaque which can be viewed within the meadow. 

Keep Britain Tidy’s Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd MBE said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved at the Royal Fort Gardens in achieving a Green Flag Award”. 

The Green Flag Award scheme is managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world. 

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