Green flags will be flying with pride once again at Bicclescombe Park in Ilfracombe and Yeo Valley Community Woodland in Barnstaple, in a year when millions of people have seen the value of having great quality green spaces on their doorstep.

Both of the award winning green spaces are owned and managed by North Devon Council, with the help of active community groups including the Friends of Yeo Valley Woodland and the Bicclescombe Park User Group. 2020 is the 16th consecutive year that Bicclescombe Park has achieved Green Flag status, with Yeo Valley Woodland receiving the award for the 9th time in a row.

To celebrate Green Flag award success and to say a massive thank you to the parks staff, volunteers and the Green Flag Award Judges for all their work this year, the Willshire fountain on Barnstaple Square will be illuminated with green light. Other buildings and landmarks across the country are also going green for parks, including the White Cliffs of Dover, the London Stadium and Salford’s Media City.

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says: “It is fantastic to hear that Bicclescombe Park and Yeo Valley have again been awarded the prestigious Green Flag. This year has been very challenging for our Parks team and community groups who work so hard to maintain these spaces to such a high standard, and yet our parks and green spaces have been more important for the health and well being of our community than ever before. I would like to extend my congratulations to all those involved, especially the community groups for all the hours they dedicate to our parks.”

Local ward member for Ilfracombe West, Councillor Geoffrey Fowler, says: "At a time when outside open green spaces are at a premium, our community recognises the advantage of having such a lovely park on their doorstep. Add the fact it is extremely we’ll cared for, hence yet another award, this year is extra special for users as a means of social distancing in a great environment.”

Local ward member for Ilfracombe West, Councillor Netti Pearson, says: “Bicclescombe Park is a well used and much-loved park and it thrives because it has an active user group, community involvement, and a responsive and imaginative parks maintenance team. This year it has been especially important to our community, providing an outdoor haven and (physically-distanced) social space to many who have no garden of their own. The Green Flag award reflects and rewards yet again the efforts of all those involved and the pride our town has in our wonderful park.”

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “This year, more than ever, our parks and green spaces have been a lifeline and we know that millions of people have used them to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.
“It is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff and volunteers that, despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors, North Devon Council has achieved the highest international standards, at Bicclescombe Park and Yeo Valley Woodland, demanded by the Green Flag Award.”

If you would like more information about becoming a volunteer at one of these parks, please contact the council’s Parks Team on 01271 388326 or email parks@northdevon.gov.uk.