At this time of year, in particular, the city's parks and green spaces give great pleasure and in Southampton we have more to enjoy than most other cities.

There are many people to thank for this.

Going back to 1228 Nicholas de Sirlie, at a meeting in Southampton Castle, renounced all rights to pasture lands east of Hill Lane in favour of the Burgesses of Southampton and thus the magnificent Common came into being and its initial boundaries defined.

Until the middle of the 19th century, citizens enjoyed grazing rights on common land on the marsh outside the eastern walls and on the Lammas fields to the north of the Bargate.

Daily Echo: An old picture of Andrews Park from an F G O Stuart postcard.

Concerned by the changes brought by the docks and the railway and the loss of the rural feel of the town, the Borough Council used the 1844 Marsh Act to drain the marsh and sell the land to builders.

The revenue obtained was used to purchase the Lammas lands, which were landscaped to form the city centre parks we enjoy today.

The Central Parks contain 52 acres of public open space in the heart of the city and are Grade II listed, as are many of the monuments contained within them.

At the same time as the creation of the Central Parks, the Council reached an agreement with Queen’s College Oxford for the creation of Queen’s Park opposite Dock Gate 4. This land was known as God's House Meadow and had originally been a gift to Queen Philippa from her husband Edward III following the French raid on Southampton in 1338.

Daily Echo: A picture of Cemetery Gates taken from an old postcard.

The park covers an area of almost five acres and includes the Grade II listed Gordon monument.

The Vokes Memorial Gardens are on the south side of Canute Road, opposite Queen’s Park near Dock Gate 4 and named after Alderman Frederick Vokes. He was chairman of Southampton’s Public Lands Committee from 1923 until 1927 and initiated many improvements to the parks and open spaces such as new bowling greens, tennis courts and flower beds.

One small, but charming, park located in Rockstone Place next to the Magistrates Court was a gift to the city from the daughters of Edward Toomer from Newbury.

He bought fields which were part of Bannister's Farm and known by their medieval names of Great and Little Monger. In 1879 Toomer's daughters Jane, Margaret and Rebecca gave Little Monger to the people of Southampton for use as a park never to be built upon.

Daily Echo: Southampton Old Cemetery.

Southampton is blessed with eight Greenways which are bands of open space that follow stream valleys. They form important breaks in built-up areas and provide a natural corridor for wildlife.

These include Bassett Wood Greenway, Broadlands Valley Greenway, Lords Wood Greenway, Lordsdale Greenway to the north-west of Aldermoor Road, Monks Brook Greenway, Rollesbrook Greenway parallel to Hill Lane and Westwood Greenway at Netley Abbey.

The Southampton Cemetery Act of 1843 enabled the Corporation to establish one of England's first municipal cemeteries, Southampton Old Cemetery on the Common.

John Loudon the famous landscape gardener was initially involved but it was completed by local nurseryman William Rogers.

Daily Echo: Gordon Monument in Queen's Park.

The Council was determined that it should "be ornamental to the Town and attractive to visitors". It attracts many visitors still today.

The award winning Mayfield Park, opened on June 22, 1938 in Sholing, was formerly the grounds of Mayfield House built for Robert Wright in 1854.

Alderman Walter Alford played a prominent part in its acquisition. The park was opened on his birthday which was tragically only a few days before his death.

It contains 42 landscaped acres of historical parkland and includes the Shoreburs Greenway which follows the nineteenth-century carriageway from Weston Grove House to Portsmouth Road.

Sholing had not long become part of Southampton and when inviting members of the Council to the opening the Mayor, George Prince, sarcastically said that many members did not know where the park was but if they went via the floating bridge they would discover where that was too!

Godfrey Collyer is a tour guide with .