Despite being a compact urban area, Luton has a quality range of public open spaces, including five parks which have been awarded green flags to signify that they have attained a high quality of upkeep and access to the public.
George Street, Market Hill and St George’s Square – St George’s Square, between the Town Hall and Luton Library and Theatre has been transformed into a pedestrianised open space that is frequently used for open air events. This joins with George Street, the main shopping thoroughfare through the centre of Luton which runs up to Market Hill, both of which have also been pedestrianised to greatly enhance the shopping experience.
Great Bramingham Wood – Bramingham Wood covers 45 acres of natural woodland to the north of Luton. Since 1985 it has been owned and managed by The Woodland Trust and is classified as an ancient woodland that has been in existence for at least 400 years. Since the Trust took over, a team of volunteers has been formed to carry out much of the upkeep work, creating a network of paths. Great Bramingham Wood is known for its spectacular spring bluebell flowering as well as pink campions.
Leagrave Common – Leagrave Common is the source of the River Lea which passes through Luton before meeting the River Thames in Bow, east London. Today, the Common provides a valuable area of green space for residents of nearby Marsh Farm, as well as Limbury and Leagrave.
Luton Hoo Memorial Park – Formerly part of the Luton Hoo estate, the Memorial Park was bequeathed to Luton at the behest of Sir Julius Wernher’s widow Lady Wernher, subsequently known as Lady Ludlow, whose son was killed during the First World War. The park was dedicated to all those Lutonians who died in the First World War and in subsequent wars.
Luton to Hatfield railway path – Since 2009 the disused Luton to Hatfield railway line has been opened up as a footpath and forms Route 6 of the National Cycle Network, which also runs through the centre of Luton. The route directly links Luton with Harpenden and Leighton Buzzard to the east and west respectively, and ultimately links London with Keswick in Cumbria.
Kidney Wood – Kidney Wood is an area of ancient semi-natural woodland on the southern edge of Luton that has been identified as a County Wildlife Site.
The Moor – While much of the Old Moor was taken over in 1868 by the Midland Railway, the stretch of land running adjacent to New Bedford Road and the River Lea provides an attractive respite close to the centre of Luton.
People’s Park – One kilometer to the north west of the centre of Luton, People’s Park is butterfly shaped, with the ‘left wing’ forming Pope’s Meadow, which runs adjacent to Wardown Park. Popular with sledgers in winter when it snows, Pope’s Meadow also hosts the annual firework display in November.
Stockwood Park – Stockwood Park was given to the people of Luton by Miss Joan Crawley after the First World War. Stockwood House was once the home of the Crawley family, the site of which is now the site of Stockwood Discovery Centre. As well as the landscaped grounds that are freely open to the public, the park also hosts Stockwood Golf Centre and Athletics centre.
Stopsley Common – Stopsley Common provides one the largest areas of open public green space in the north east of Luton. The common hosts many of Luton sports clubs and will also the site of the new Luton Aquatic Centre which will contain an Olympic size swimming pool and diving facilities.
Wardown Park – On the grounds of a private home which has since become home to Luton Museum, Wardown Park was opened to the public in 1906 and has been a popular attraction ever since. The River Lea runs through the landscaped park which contains tennis courts and bowling greens. These days the park is also used to host Luton International Carnival and the Luton Mela.
Waulud’s Bank – While the earliest settlements in Luton are traced back 250,000, the most important Neolithic settlement, dating to around 3,000 BC, is found at Waulud’s Bank which joins what is now Leagrave Common. Today the vast site, estimated at around seven hectares, remains unexcavated, but is regarded as being of significant national archeological value and is classified as an ancient monument.
With thanks to our Love Luton partners:
Arriva; A Thin Place; Barnfield College; British Land; easyJet; FCC Environment; Gulfstream; Heart FM; Keepmoat; London Luton Airport; Luton Borough Council; Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa; Luton on Sunday; The Mall; Signature Flight Support; University of Bedfordshire; Vauxhall Motors; VolkerFitzpatrick and VolkerHighways.