Love Parks Week, organised by Keep Britain Tidy, is back, taking place from the 28 July to 6 August, giving people across the country the chance to shout about their wonderful green spaces.
Whether it’s walking the dog, picnicking with friends, or pushing the little ones on a playground swing, our parks give our communities, children and pets a vital space to play, grow, and bond. Love Parks Week is set up to celebrate and support the efforts of volunteers and workers up and down the country to maintain and protect our green spaces.
According to charity Mind, getting outdoors has such a positive impact on both mental and physical wellbeing including improving your mood, reducing feelings of stress or anger, helping you to relax or get more active (whichever your prefer) and connect with your local community which in turn reduces loneliness.
In Ross-on-Wye we have several open spaces and parks – some with children’s play areas – so head out with the kids or just enjoy some peace and relaxation with a book, a bite to eat or sit, unwind and watch the world go by.
1. Dean Hill Park
Located on a triangular green surrounded by Alton Street, Sussex Avenue and Kent Avenue, Dean Hill Park offers a compact area of grassland with a children’s play area in one corner, swings, slides, climbing frames and picnic benches. The playground is entirely enclosed by a low fence and dogs are not permitted on the surrounding grass, keeping the area completely safe and clean for your little ones to play. And when we say safe, we mean it – with two doctors’ surgeries either side of it, you haven’t got far to go should you have an accident of any description!
2. Rope Walk
Head slightly west from the town centre and you’ll find the Rope Walk adjacent to the riverside (walk down the hill from the Man of Ross pub on Wye Street or turn left almost at the bottom of Trenchard Street). In the middle of the open space which is popular with dog walkers, you’ll find a small enclosed play area which has a slide, climbing apparatus and other children’s activity equipment. Recently added to the play area is a new picnic bench with accessible space for wheelchair users. Another new climbing frame has also been installed on the open grassed area with tyre swings and rope ladder to keep the little ones occupied. Near to the riverside path you’ll see one of three metal sculptures created by local artist, Walenty Pytel, depicting ‘Swans in Flight’ (the other two are on Long Acre and at the top of Wye Street). You can also take in the Linear Arboretum which surrounds the entire green space and includes native and non-native trees such as blossoms, beeches, birches, maples, monkey puzzles and mountain ash.
3. Long Acre
If you’re following the Linear Arboretum from the Rope Walk, it continues along the river path all the way to Wilton Bridge. There are lots of benches along the length of the riverside where you can sit and watch the wildlife glide past, including swans, mandarin ducks, geese and sometimes herons or kingfishers. Particularly pretty in the summertime, you’ll see the blossoms bursting into a wonderful pink floral display, flanking the short path between Wye Street and the canoe launch. The second of Walenty Pytel’s metal sculptures depicting Mallards also dominates the skyline. There is also an accessible route for buggies, wheelchairs and mobility scooters along the plastic matting just before you reach the canoe launch which provides a safe and easy route along the riverside.
4. Caroline Symonds Gardens
Finally, just over the road on the opposite side of Long Acre, you’ll find the Bandstand and a continuation of the Linear Arboretum if you’ve been following it up from the Rope Walk. A popular open area particularly in the summer months when the town hosts its Bands in the Park free summer concert series, this open green space is easy to access from the Wilton Road car park by walking under the road through the tunnels (you’ll also find public conveniences just behind the Bandstand – just don’t forget your 20p cash).