University of Exeter: Green Flag awards recognise outstanding outdoor spaces on three campuses

Three University of Exeter campuses have won a coveted Green Flag Award, in recognition of the outstanding quality of their outdoor spaces.

Streatham and St Luke’s campuses in Exeter and the Penryn campus, near Falmouth in Cornwall, are all raising green flags. It comes in a in a record-breaking year for the scheme, which is the international quality mark for parks and green spaces as it marks its Silver Jubilee.

After 18 months that have seen parks and green space play a vital role for people through lockdowns as a place to relax, exercise and meet friends and family safely, the Green Flag Awards are testament to the hard work and dedication of the teams that create an outdoor space that everyone can enjoy.

David Evans, Grounds and Operations Manager at the University of Exeter, said: “These Green Flag Awards show the standard of custodianship of the University’s outdoor spaces remains at a high standard. It’s been an incredibly challenging 12 months dealing with the difficulties of Covid restrictions. However, we learned some important lessons as a team about how to manage outdoor spaces with a lighter touch, and we adopted and developed this approach in significant areas to support biodiversity. The achievement of this award is a direct result of all the hard work and effort of the team, and I’m so proud of them all.”

Toby Nenning, Head Gardener at the Penry Campus, said: ‘We are very pleased to have been awarded the prestigious Green Flag award for the Penryn campus and this conveys the level of care and dedication the team have to the outdoor spaces. As for everyone it has been a challenging 18 months, but with the team working throughout the pandemic the site has become a haven for anyone trying to escape the stresses and strains of the modern world, whether it be a walk with the dog, a jog through the grounds or simply to relax in the hammocks within our orchard. We are now working hard to protect and increase the biodiversity of the site with an increase in wildflowers, tree planting and organic gardening’

It is the 11th consecutive year that the Streatham Campus has held a green flag, the ninth for St Luke’s the the fifth for Penryn.

The two Exeter campuses boast 5,274 mature trees, which remove over two tonnes of pollutants each year. The campuses are home sports pitches, an arboretum, Italianate garden, Magnolia lawn, a collection of wild conifers and Azaleas, a cherry orchard and wildflower meadows. The campuses also contain top quality sports pitches for a range of high performance outdoor summer and winter sports and high levels of active participation in sport.

The Penryn campus is made up of historic sub-tropical gardens, with a walled garden, famous Victorian rhododendron collection, Italianate garden, terraces, parkland, orchards, and woodlands which are open to everyone 365 days a year. In the past year, four new sign boards were installed to highlight the spectacular biodiversity of the Penryn grounds.

Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd congratulated the University of Exeter teams, saying: “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 [name of site] has high standards of horticulture, safety and environmental management and is a place that supports people to live healthy lives.”

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.

In celebration of this year’s announcement, Green Flag Award is asking buildings and monuments around the UK to #GoGreenForParks today to show appreciation for the spaces that mean so much to people.