08 December 2017
The Green Flag Award celebrates the very best, most well-managed parks and green spaces in the country. Staff and volunteers are constantly looking to improve their sites now and for future generations - trying new ideas, taking risks, and involving others.
Each year we celebrate the very best innovations occurring across Green Flag-awarded sites, with our Special Innovation Awards. Last week we announced the eight very deserving winners and each week we will share their stories, beginning with Hastings Country Park.
Hastings Borough Council faced the challenge of so many green spaces - prioritising both biodiversity and public enjoyment - whilst protecting one of the foremost coastal nature reserves in the UK.
Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve encompasses a Country Park, Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. But until 2000 the site had no management plan, was being polluted by a nearby dairy farm and it's important species were in decline.
The slopes, woods and coastal habitats meant modern machines just weren't up to the job of protecting such a special spot, so traditional methods of land management were introduced - conservation grazing instead of mowers and heavy horses instead of tractors.
The free-grazing Exmoor ponies and Belted Galloway cattle are able to roam, with the same freedom as walkers have. Giving visitors the chance to enjoy being closer to these wonderful animals, whilst they are doing their vital work.
And cows and ponies grazers are such as good job, they will soon be grazing the cliff tops too, with invisible fencing (underground induction loop fencing) to preserve the stunning clifftop landscape.