Park staff believe John Coles has something for all the family

Joanne Moorein Parks & Gardens

John Coles Park in Chippenham is set to start the summer with a celebration after winning one award and being judged for another.

John Coles Park ground worker Bob Simmons, left, and Chippenham Town Council Head of Environmental Services Will Tidmarsh

The park has already been awarded a five star rating in the Best Park category of the South West Britain in Bloom Awards and next month will be assessed by judges in Keep Britain Tidy's Green Flag awards, these are awarded for high standards of care, excellent facilities and good environmental policies.

Chippenham Town Council's Head of Environmental Services Will Tidmarsh, who oversees all the town's green spaces, said the plaudits are a boost for the staff who put so much into keeping the park looking beautiful.

He said: "It's great for the town because it shows how good the park is and it is also brilliant for the staff because they work really hard. They are out there in all weathers and take a pride in making the park look the best it can be."

The 14-acre park has the equivalent of just two full-time grounds staff to keep it in prime condition, Bob Simmons, the permanent dedicated groundsman can walk up to ten miles in a day around the park while carrying out his duties. He is assisted by other members of the council's four-strong grounds team depending on the workload.

"I love my job," said Mr Simmons, who has been with the council for eight years. "I enjoy being outdoors and I receive lots of positive comments on how the park is looked after. There are lots of regulars who I see most days."

After the groundsmen have finished for the day the park is looked after by three park wardens on a rota basis, starting week nights around 4.30pm and finishing at dusk and then from 8am weekends and bank holidays. "They are there to keep everyone safe and secure and to gently implement the rules," said Will.

In summer the park attracts around 1,500 visitors a day. "We don't just get Chippenham people visit we have regular visits from families from Newport and Bristol," said Mr Simmons. "They come here because it is a great day out."

Mr Tidmarsh estimates that 400,000 people walk through the gates each year, many of these are regulars who sometimes walk their dogs in the park up to three times a day.

"As well as the open spaces and play area, there are the dog walking areas, the sensory garden with its raised beds, the tennis, bowls and the Multi Use Games Area, the Splash Pad and concerts that run every Sunday from May until September at the bandstand. I don't think there's another park in Wiltshire to match it and the staff here work really hard to keep it that way," he said.

From June 1 the town council will be taking over Monkton Park from Wiltshire Council as part of a package of assets it is assuming control of. Will expects the high standards of care and maintenance on show in John Coles Park will be in evident at Monkton Park.

You can read the original article from the Chippenham Gazette & Herald HERE