STOVER Park has been recognised with a Green Flag award for the 20th year in a row.

The accreditation retained by Devon County Council’s two country parks – Stover Country Park near Newton Abbot and the Grand Western Canal Country Park in Tiverton – is the international quality mark for parks and green spaces.

This year marks the 20th consecutive year that Stover Country Park has received the award, and at the Grand Western Canal Country Park its 15 years.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, said: 'Both of these country parks are incredibly popular and it’s easy to see why. What isn’t so easy is the work that it takes to be awarded the prestigious Green Flag every year.

'It’s an amazing achievement by Stover to celebrate 20 years of this award and 15 years for the Grand Western Canal.

'Well done to the staff and volunteers who maintain the consistently high standards that make these parks such great habitats for our local wildlife as well as being special green spaces for the rest of us to enjoy.'

The Restoring Stover Park Lottery Project is underway, which will conserve the historic and wildlife interest at the site as well as facilitating new user groups, including the Stover Community Shed initiative.

Devon County CouncilÕs two country parks are celebrating after receiving a Green Flag Award 
Picture: DCC (July 2023)
Devon County Council's two country parks are celebrating after receiving a Green Flag Award. Picture: DCC (July 2023) (DCC)

The Friends of Stover Country Park funded the construction of a life-size horse and carriage sculpture earlier this year through the Co-op’s Local Community Fund.

In recent months, the Grand Western Canal has benefited from a range of improvements such as resurfacing a three-quarter mile stretch of the towpath near Sampford Peverell to improve access and installing several new noticeboards. The Canal Country Park has also received police accreditation for the Canal Ranger team and our volunteer Community Patrol Boat crew to help us deal with anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Colin Slade, chairman of the Grand Western Canal Joint Advisory Committee and County Councillor for Tiverton East, said: 'Another year, another Green Flag!

It really is an amazing achievement for the Grand Western Canal Country Park to win this prestigious award for 15 consecutive years, but it is richly deserved. As a Canal walker myself I see every day the hard work put in by Country Park Manager Mark Baker and his team of rangers and volunteers. There is so much to be done to keep the canal and country park at their best the whole year round. It is of course a haven for nature and wildlife, as well as a superb tourist attraction and a wonderful resource for local residents. My thanks and congratulations to Mark and all involved in yet another success!'

Stover Park, Newton Abbot. Picture: Nick Knight
Stover Park, Newton Abbot. Picture: Nick Knight2023 (NK)

Councillor Ray Radford, vice Chair of the Grand Western Canal Joint Advisory Committee, Mid Devon District Councillor for Halberton and County Councillor for Willand and Uffculme, said: 'Fantastic, done it again. It is no wonder really, because we have such a dedicated management team, they have made good improvements to our canal, particularly the tow path. We also have received Police accreditation for our Canal Ranger Team and their volunteers. Well done for everyone's efforts to make the canal the success it is.'

Keep Britain Tidy’s Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd MBE said: 'I would like to congratulate everyone involved at Stover Country Park and the Grand Western Canal Country Park in achieving a Green Flag Award. They are vital green spaces for their communities, bringing people together and providing opportunities to lead healthy lifestyles.

'The staff and volunteers do so much to ensure that they maintain the high standards of the Green Flag Award and everyone involved should feel extremely proud of their achievement.'

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.

A full list of Green Flag Award-winning parks and green spaces is available on the Keep Britain Tidy website.