Green Flag Awards 2021

Green Flag awards have been retained by East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) for their Manor Gardens in Exmouth, Seafield Gardens in Seaton, and Connaught Garden in Sidmouth, along with Seaton Wetlands nature reserve on the Axe Estuary.

This is the 17th year in a row that this converted award has been awarded to the work at Manor Gardens, Exmouth and with Sidmouth’s Connaught Gardens now winning the accolade for 18 years in a row, and now the second year for Seaton’s Seafield Gardens.

Wild East Devon’s Seaton Wetlands first scooped the prestigious award 17 years ago in 2004 and has been flying the flag proudly ever since.

The Green Flag Award, is the international quality mark for parks and green spaces scheme, which is marking its Silver Jubilee.

During the Covid emergency our many parks and green spaces have played a vital role for people to relax, exercise and meet friends and family safely.

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.

Any green space must be freely accessible to the public are eligible to enter for a Green Flag Award. The awards are given on an annual basis and winners must apply each year to renew their Green Flag Award status.

The awards are the result of the hard work of EDDC StreetScene and Countryside teams, helped tremendously by ‘in bloom’ groups and other volunteers.

The Staff and volunteers that work together in East Devon are already busy on exciting new improvements, with plenty of work being undertaken and new projects with thousands of extra bulbs being planted while they work hard to usher in a new eco-friendly way of working.

Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC’s portfolio holder for Coast, Country and Environment, said:

We have now flown the Green Flag over Seaton Wetlands for 17 years! The Countryside Team are constantly striving to improve this much-loved nature reserve. It’s been a haven for people, and wildlife, in recent years and there are many exciting new changes being planned for next year, too.”

EDDC has been working extremely hard to make its parks as beautiful as ever but to reduce our carbon footprint as well. We have been concentrating, more on putting in perennial plants that come back bigger and better every year, not only making the gardens look more stunning but also helping our bees and insects thrive, encouraging wildlife and nature to prosper.”

This saves labour, reduces the need for watering and reduces costs long run, and continues the council’s commitment to both the climate change and biodiversity emergencies.”

EDDC has been focusing on being as green as possible, making spaces look interesting and contemporary – taking inspiration, from other leading gardens and shows like the Chelsea Flower Show where there is a lot of sustainable planting ideas to help save the planet and help reduce the carbon footprint.

It is now the bulb planting season, so the authority’s StreetScene staff have most recently been working hard to plant thousands of bulbs in the three Green Flag gardens, as well as across the wider East Devon area. By selecting flowering bulbs of all shapes, sizes and colours, flowering will continue throughout the different seasons, which pollinators will love – providing them with food when it is scarce.

Residents are being encouraged to look out for EDDC’s grand bulbs – “Fritillaria imperialis”– which have large orange flowers on top of a very long one-metre stem that will emerge across East Devon in late spring.

Staff have also been working on nurturing our more mature perennial plants and will soon be working on planting a great many new trees throughout the district.