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In a record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award, as the scheme marks its Silver Jubilee, Bicclescombe Park in Ilfracombe and Yeo Valley Community Woodland in Barnstaple are celebrating award success again this year.

After 18 months that have seen parks and green spaces play a vital role in helping people through lockdowns as places to relax, exercise and meet friends and family safely, the news that both green spaces have achieved the Green Flag Award is testament to the hard work and dedication of the teams that make them great spaces that everyone can enjoy.

2021 is the 17th consecutive year that Bicclescombe Park has achieved Green Flag status, with Yeo Valley Woodland receiving the award for the 10th time in a row. Both 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. 

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.

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

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says: “I am proud of our Parks team and community groups who work so hard to maintain these spaces to a high standard and achieve the prestigious Green Flag award for Bicclescombe Park and Yeo Valley year on year.  I would like to congratulate everyone involved in achieving this award, especially the community groups for all the hours they dedicate to our parks.”

Local ward member for Ilfracombe West, Councillor Geoffrey Fowler, says: “In yet another difficult year where outside space has been a haven for a lot of people, Bicclescombe has come up trumps once again. The limited staff, all credit to them, have maintained the park in extremely good condition under the circumstances, as several of our late influx of visitors have testified. Well done to all concerned.”

Local ward member for Ilfracombe West, Councillor Netti Pearson, says: “It is great to see the park receive the award once more and is a credit to the park’s team and volunteers. We are still experiencing difficult times and it is a joy to stroll through and appreciate the changes through the seasons. Well done to everyone.”

Local ward member for Barnstaple, Pilton, Councillor Ian Roome says: "This is an outstanding achievement by North Devon Council officers and the Friends of Yeo Valley Woodland. To achieve the Green Flag status is a testament to all their hard work and dedication. Our community can enjoy this beautiful green outdoor space as a result of many hours given by volunteers. It really is one of Barnstaple’s hidden gems.”

Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd says: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making Bicclescombe Park and Yeo Valley Woodland worthy of a Green Flag Award. To meet the requirements demanded by the scheme is testament to the hard work of the staff and volunteers who do so much to ensure that both green spaces have high standards of horticulture, safety and environmental management and is a place that supports people to live healthy lives.”

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.