Do You Live Near One of Britain’s Best Parks?

Fields in Trust, a UK charity which currently safeguards more than 28,000 acres of green space and park land across the country, is campaigning for more local parks to be protected.

A recent survey carried out by Fields in Trust found that nearly one in five people have said their local park has come under threat from being lost or built on. Over two thirds said the loss of parks would be detrimental to childrens’ development, and nearly half of all respondents said that they would be less active if their local green space was lost.

To celebrate our public green spaces, the charity announced Stanley Park in Blackpool as winner of the 2017 UK’s Best Park awards. The competition allowed members of the public to nominate their local parks and vote for their favourite.


Stanley Park is a Grade II heritage park which was designed in the 1920s by Thomas Mawson. It has plenty of features including a boating lake, a café, sports pitches and a bandstand. Not to mentioned immaculately maintained flower beds, borders, an Italian marble fountain and lawns.


The park is maintained by a grounds crew of five people for Blackpool Council. Local residents, ‘the Friends of Stanley Park’ also pitch in to help as much as possible. The site is incredibly important to the community, as well as being considered the ‘lungs of the city’.

Not surprisingly, hundreds of UK parks were nominated for the awards across the country. Take a look at all the nominations and winners here to see if your local park made it to the list! Fields in Trust will also be running the competition again this year, so make sure you nominate your favourite and get voting!


Rejuvenating the Landscape After Winter

It’s the time of year when we can almost say goodbye to winter and work can once again begin to rejuvenate lawns, green spaces and pitches ready for the season ahead.


When grass is dormant during the winter months, a build-up of thatch (dead grass) can restrict light, air and moisture from reaching the roots.

Scarifying is very beneficial lawn treatment which is most effective when done ‘little and often’, rather than when a thatch problem has been allowed to become troublesome.

Billy Goat’s range of petrol powered lawn scarifiers manoeuvre effortlessly around both small and larger properties, removing matted thatch from any type of turf. The Billy Goat Power Rake (Scarifier), with its rugged design, can withstand the most demanding use. The PR’s flails propel the machine forwards, making it self-propelled and minimising fatigue for the user.



Lawns and pitches may well have developed patches during winter and these can be overseeded and brought back to life this season.

Billy’s Goat Series Push Overseeder conserves seed with Billy Goat’s exclusive Auto Drop feature by automatically starting or stopping seed drop with bale engagement. Capable of covering 13,000sq.ft/hr, this machine will make light work of any turf space!

Tidy Up

Leaves that fell in autumn and winter may have built up on property grounds and in public areas such as car parks. The leaves are likely to have become mixed up with other debris into damp, compacted piles, making areas look very untidy.

To tackle a big job like this, Billy Goat’s range of lawn and leaf vacuums are available for use in residential gardens, as well as any and all large-scale industrial, commercial and municipal clean-up projects. Self-propelled and designed for use on hard and soft surfaces, Billy Goat’s machines can pick up debris ranging from bottles, litter, branches and leaves.


Greening the Concrete Jungle

Happy New Year!

Here at Billy Goat we are looking forward to another year of providing quality machinery for all property clean up needs, be it residential, commercial or municipal.

Something we noticed in 2017, and we have written several blogs based on this topic, is that public green spaces in our cities and towns remain important – more important than ever, in fact – to the health and well-being of our communities.


Not only are gardens getting smaller, but it is estimated that two million homes in Britain don’t have a garden, and by 2020, 10.5% of all homes will not have a garden at all.

Cities such as London, Manchester and Leeds are all undergoing vast construction projects, regeneration and growth. More and more people are choosing to live closer to cities, and local councils and authorities are under increasing pressure to meet housing targets each year.

With all this urbanization, public parks and green spaces can form a vital part of a community, and are a great way for friends and families with children to get outside, especially if they have limited garden space at home. Recent research from Fields in Trust has shown that there is a direct link between publicly accessible parks and green spaces and health and well-being, and recommends that people visit a local park or public garden at least once a week.

It is possible that public green spaces will eventually replace the private garden altogether, and so it remains essential that parks and green areas are included in future urban planning for the benefit of everybody.


So here’s to 2018, and another year of cleaning up, landscaping and maintenance work to make sure our public spaces are accessible to everyone.


The Benefits of Green Spaces

Recent research from Fields in Trust has shown that there is a direct link between publicly accessible parks and green spaces and health and well-being.


Their work, which involved new analysis of existing data from Defra and Natural England, and a new primary data sample, meant that Fields in Trust were able to establish a connection between an individual’s use of public green spaces and an improvement in their health and mental well-being.

It appears that, on average, the more frequently a person visits a park or green space, the better their well-being would be.

The new research also highlighted the importance of these green spaces, because they serve as ideal venues for community activities, and can help some individuals in their battle against loneliness.

The report recommends a ‘dosage’ for visiting green spaces, suggesting people should aim to go at least once a week.


It has long been thought that gardening, nature and being around green space can be beneficial for you. It helps you relax, relieve stress and appreciate some peace and quiet. This report, however, is the first real evidence that has shown, on a national level, a direct link between green spaces and an increase in a person’s well-being.

As the population of this country continues to rise, more people are moving to cities, and more and more land is being used for housing, the need for parks and public gardens is all the more important. Despite the housing crisis, and our increasingly busy lifestyles, we can still incorporate green spaces into our concrete jungles for everyone’s benefit.

This concept was brilliantly demonstrated at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year. The RHS ‘Greening Grey Britain’ garden showed how plants and greenery can be included in urban developments. We wrote a blog about this in July.

Not only can it brighten up otherwise grey buildings and city developments, but it can also offer a practical solution by choosing plants that are edible and/or soak up pollution. We love this inspiring idea and it reaffirms our passion for maintaining and caring for our publicly accessible green spaces, parks and landscapes.


Clearing the way

Autumn is here and that means parks, streets and gardens might be looking radiant in their red and golden colours, but fallen leaves can be a real pain for professional grounds teams!

Leaves that have fallen can create a slippery hazard once wet or icy, making them a potential health and safety risk in public places.


They can also damage grass too. Once they cover an area of lawn, they can actually suffocate it, preventing precious sunlight and air from reaching the sward. This can damage any remaining grass growth for the year, and hinder its health for next spring. Not only that, piles of leaves can harbour pests and diseases and clog up drains and manhole covers.

It is possible to collect them in one fell swoop, along with general litter and other debris too! All you need is a reliable, outdoor vacuum from Billy Goat.

To meet the needs of both domestic and residential usage is the KV Series, which has both hand and self propelled models. With a 27” width and a five blade impeller with serrated edges, the KV Series maximises suction and tackles debris with ease. It is also available with an on-board 2” chipper to help clear branches too.


For professional usage, there is the heavy duty MV Series that is ideal for larger properties, commercial sites and council applications. With a 29” width, MV Series models pick up all rubbish and debris from both hard surfaces and turf, with a 151 litre collection capacity that makes light work of clearing large areas.


What is overseeding and why is it important?

Overseeding is the term given to the process of improving sward development, by adding new seeds to grow and blend into the existing grass, creating a plusher, thicker turf. It improves the overall look of the grass, and the added density can prevent weeds from getting through.

Grass is gradually deteriorating all the time – this is because, in areas such as domestic gardens, sports pitches or land maintained by councils, the grass is mown regularly, which interrupts its natural life cycle of producing seed heads each summer. For this reason, it is important to replenish the grass.

In the agricultural and sports industries, overseeding can offer considerable savings in both time and money. It is less costly than reseeding an entire swathe of land, and, for sports grounds, it means fewer periods of time where it cannot be utilised at all.

We have compiled six tips for fuss-free overseeding:

  1. Spring and autumn are the ideal times of year to overseed. First, choose which selection of seeds to use. You can either choose the same type as the existing lawn to blend in, or if you are not happy with the behaviour or appearance of your lawn, choosing a different type can help to change the colour, texture and density of the grass.
  2. Next, mow the lawn down to about an inch before adding in the new seeds. This will make it easier for the seedlings to compete with the existing grass.
  3. Remember to aerate the soil, as this will help the seeds come into contact with the soil and allow them to germinate. This can be a laborious task if done by hand, but using an aerator can make light work of large areas in no time.
  4. Evenly spread the seeds over the area, adding more where the lawn is particularly patchy or bare. There is a machine for this job too! Using an overseeder will save time, and provide an even covering of seeds – perfect for gardeners with large lawns. Cover the grass lightly with a small amount of compost to deter birds from eating them all! Be wary of putting too much down, however, as this can suffocate and kill existing blades of grass.
  5. Generously water at least twice a day for the first week, followed by two or three times a week after that.
  6. Once the seeds have germinated, apply a fertiliser and wait for the lawn to reach two and half inches in length before mowing again.

No More Pitch Patterns in the Premier League

The Premier League has recently announced that groundscare teams can no longer work creative patterns and club logos into their pitch.

A statement issued on the official Premier League website reads, “Pitch patterns and designs will no longer be allowed in the Premier League in 2017/18.

“Rules state that the playing surface must contain no markings other than the traditional horizontal and white lines.

“This amendment brings the Premier League Rules into line with UEFA’s regulations for its competitions and follows consultation with the Premier League Club groundsmen.”

Our blog back in June covered this topic, praising the likes of Leicester City FC for their original and unique designs, such as poppies mown into the grass to commemorate Remembrance Day, and the beautifully intricate outline of the club’s badge towards the end of the 2016/17 season.


Other top flights clubs such as Southampton FC also sported impressive circular patterns on their pitch instead of traditional stripes.

Not only was it wonderfully creative and fun, it was no doubt inspiring youngsters to consider a career in groundsmanship. It also helped the Premier League gain worldwide recognition, and demonstrated that it IS possible to get your lawn looking more like a snooker table!