Celebrations for East Devon as Seaton wildlife haven and parks in Exmouth and Sidmouth win 2021 Green Flag Awards

An East Devon haven for wildlife – plus parks in Exmouth and Sidmouth – continue to hold Green Flag Awards, internationally celebrating top-notch public spaces.

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

The Manor Gardens has held the accolade for 17 years in a row; Connaught Gardens 18 years; and Seaton Wetlands since 2004.

Seafield Gardens, also in Seaton, retains its award for the second year running.

East Devon

Manor Gardens, Exmouth.
Photo: EDDC.

The district council has revealed its aim to create bee-friendly gardens Photo: EDDC.

The district council said it has been ‘working hard’ to reduce its carbon footprint, while planting perennial bee-friendly plants to reduce water usage and attract wildlife.

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.”

He added: “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.”

Seaton Wetlands.
Photo: EDDC.

The Green Flag Award, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, is the international quality mark for parks and green spaces.

The green spaces eligible to enter the Green Flag Award must be freely accessible to the public.

Awards are announced annually and winners must apply each year to renew their Green Flag Award status.

East Devon

Seafield Gardens, Seaton.
Photo: EDDC.

An EDDC spokesman said: “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.”

He added: “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.”

East Devon

Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth.
Photo: EDDC.

The district council said its parks and gardens staff have been planting thousands of bulbs in the three award-winning gardens, and across East Devon.

Grand bulbs – Fritillaria imperialis– with orange flowers on top of a one-metre stem, are due to bloom across East Devon in late spring.

“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,” the council spokesman said.

“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.”

He added: “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.”

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