THE 'valuable environmental impact' of two Wirral parks has been honoured with special recognition.

Wirral Country Park was awarded Natural England accreditation and Birkenhead Park gains 'much-loved' status from the Fields in Trust charity.

For the fourth year running, Wirral Country Park has "fully satisfied" Natural England's criteria to be called an Accredited Country Park.

Criteria includes 'essential' factors such as being at least 10 hectares in size, free to enter, and being available for public and educational events.

The park also meets 'desirable' factors, which includes having a visitor centre, opportunities for volunteering, and Green Flag Award status.

Accreditation lasts for three years, during which the park will be placed on a national country park register.

The Fields in Trust 'UK's Best Park’ award saw 55 North West parks and green spaces nominated by the public this summer – with Birkenhead Park placing within the top 20% of all nominations.

Birkenhead Park now joins 10 other parks in the North West to be awarded 'Much Loved' status by Fields of Trust; an independent charity which works to protect the UK’s parks and green spaces.

Nominations of the Fields in Trust Awards are championed and voted for by park users, communities, 'Friends of' groups, landowners and elected members, as part of the public vote.

Cllr Julie McManus, cabinet member for community services, said: "Public open green space is as important today as it has ever been. Not only do our green spaces help to promote healthier living, they also have a valuable environmental impact and provide opportunities to bring people together.

"These brilliant achievements wouldn't be possible without the staff who work alongside regular volunteer groups, residents’ groups, and schools to make parks such a vital part of our communities."