Green turns into gold for Cheshire park and residents

Couples living on the park enjoy river views and wildlife-friendly surroundings from their retirement homes

RESIDENTS and the family owners of a retirement park in Cheshire are celebrating after winning a top environmental accolade from world-famous botanist David Bellamy.

Riverside Park in Whitegate near Northwich has won the annual David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level – despite this being its first time of entering.

The park also received three extra commendations in the award scheme for protecting honey bees, creating new hedgerow habitats, and planting wild flowers.

David Bellamy says the park fully deserves his top conservation accolade

Owned by Sam Leigh-Jones and her husband Darren, Riverside was selected for the award following an in-depth audit by David Bellamy’s wildlife assessors.

The three-acre park, said Professor Bellamy, was fully deserving of the honour thanks to a long list of green initiatives taken by the couple with the support of park residents.

Riverside provides 27 park homes, all of which have picture-postcard views of the River Weaver which runs alongside the park, and the surrounding Cheshire countryside.

Since taking over the park almost five years ago, Sam and Darren have planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs which have created additional habitats and food resources for wildlife.

Professor Bellamy made special mention of the large areas of wild flower plantings which provide vital foraging for endangered honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

He praised to provide safe nesting platforms.

According to be shared with everyone who lives on the park:

“Many of our residents chose Riverside Park as their home because of its unspoiled tranquil surroundings, and everyone here shares a love of the natural world,” she said.

“There’s also great enthusiasm among residents to safeguard wildlife, so we’re never short of ideas or offers of help and support for our work.

“We consider ourselves very privileged to know we are being supported by someone like David Bellamy,” added Sam.

As well as its conservation work, David Bellamy dubbed the park “a good neighbour” to the local community, and highlighted its charity fundraising work on behalf of good causes.

There is more information about Riverside and its nearby sister-park Delamere Grove on the company’s website at

Residents at the park share a love of the natural world says Sam Leigh-Jones, co-owner of Riverside