Parks save the seas through the power of nature

Parks save the seas through the power of nature

Parks save the seas through the power of nature

The Green Flag Award celebrates the very best, most well-managed parks and green spaces in the country. Places that are constantly looking to improve their sites and surroundings - now and for future generations.

But the importance of parks is much wider - rather than simply being pretty green spaces, they affect people's health and well being, are vital habitats for wildlife and often play an important role in cleaning water before it reaches the sea. Here is just one of these stories, from Hasting Borough Council's Alexandra Park, showing the vital link between our parks and seas. 

Alexandra Park in Hastings has a historic old stream as one of its central features, as well as three ponds and a boating lake. Water from the park runs into a storm water pipe, under the town and discharges to sea at a popular tourist beach. 
 
The Council's Waterways Improvement Project aimed to improve the bathing water quality going out to sea - and used the power of nature to do it. This innovative, successful project is a true demonstration of the wider importance of parks.
 
The aim was to reduce contamination from surrounding sources and mis-connections - naturally cleaning the water before it reaches the sea. Natural treatment of the water included the creation of weirs, wetlands, silt traps, planted stream channels, floating island eco-systems, pond edge treatment and an aeration system sucking water through natural gravel and plant filtration beds.
 
As a result of the works, stream water now travels through the park more slowly - giving it greater exposure to UV light, beneficial microbes and root filtration. This means the power of nature has more time to revitalise the water quality. And it has resulted in improved bathing water quality on a prime tourist beach. 
 
Other benefits have included increasing biodiversity, more attractive ponds and streams, increasing aquatic and wildlife habitat and "creating considerable community understanding of the management of our waterway within the park."

Just one example of how we choose to live our life on land impacting on our seas - sometimes with good news.