Praise for local parks and green spaces, James Clarke, Hampton School

In Twickenham, West London, we are lucky to have so many green spaces to enjoy as well as the River Thames.  I’ve always lived in this area and so have to some extent until more recently taken these all for granted. 

But now as a cyclist, runner and rower, fitness and being outdoors is taking up a large part of my week and I have become more and more aware about how many great places there are within a three or four mile radius of where I live.

I have been pleased to see the obvious investment that the local councils have spent on the local parks.  In Whitton alone which neighbours Twickenham, a small unused space behind the High Street was recently converted into a small children’s play area, Crane Park has benefited from a new path and playground and the Heathfield Recreational Ground also now has a new playground as well as signs and benches and paths making it one of the few Dementia Friendly parks in the borough for our more vulnerable residents to enjoy as well as everyone else.

Most of my Saturdays are filled with rowing for school but in the holidays I take part in the local Park Run in Crane Park.  Only a fortnight ago on a very cold Saturday morning nearly 300 runners arrived to pound the path over the 5k course and I was reminded once more about the fantastic green space choices I have so near to my home and it was so encouraging to see so many runners coming together to enjoy outdoor fitness together.

Local charity ‘Let’s Go Outside’ are doing good work to connect local communities with the nature on their doorsteps by working with schools, community groups, clubs and other projects with the aim being to improve wellbeing and health by encouraging time spent outdoors.  They have been particularly involved with the launch of the borough dementia friendly parks.

Jen Clarke, Chief Executive Officer at another local charity, Homelink said “we offer day respite to carers by looking after loved-ones and actively signpost our carers to the many local green spaces because we understand the many benefits of time spent outside.  Similarly, we have a sensory garden at Homelink and whenever we can, clients spend time outside watching the birds, enjoying the plants or taking part in some light gardening activities.”

Even if the weather is not so good, I think we should all try and spend more time outside and particularly in the Twickenham area, there are many choices of great green spaces we can all enjoy.

James Clarke, Hampton School