Barnstaple and Ilfracombe fly the flag of excellence for green spaces.

Bicclescombe Park in Ilfracombe.Bicclescombe Park in Ilfracombe.

TWO of North Devon's parks have scooped national awards for excellence again.

Ilfracombe's historic Bicclescombe Park and Barnstaple's fledgling woodland project at Yeo Valley, have both retained their Green Flags this year.

The parks are owned and managed by North Devon Council with the help of very active community groups, who together proved to the judges that they are among the best parks and open spaces in the country.

The coveted Green Flag award is similar to the Blue Flag given to beaches with high standards and excellent facilities.

The tennis court at Bicclescombe Park in Ilfracombe.The tennis court at Bicclescombe Park in Ilfracombe.

Executive member for parks, leisure and culture, Councillor Derrick Spear, said: "This is great news. These awards prove that not only do we have fantastic beaches here in North Devon, we also have amazing parks."

This is the 10th year in a row that Bicclescombe Park has been flying the Green Flag.

Local ward members are delighted at the news. Cllr Geoff Fowler said: "One Green Flag is good, but 10 in a row is amazing."

Cllr Philip Webb added: "Bicclescombe Park is one of Ilfracombe's treasures and this award just proves what everyone already knows - that Bicclescombe is the best."

This is the third time that Yeo Valley Community Woodland has been awarded Green Flag status. In just seven years the woodland has grown from an unused scrap of land to a much-loved woodland. The involvement of the community is one of the key reasons for the woodland reaching its award-winning status.

Yeo Valley ward member, Cllr Lesley Brown, said: "This is superb news and worthy recognition of all the hard work that the parks team and the Friends of Yeo Valley Woodland have put in to make the woodland what it is today - award-winning."

Flag raising ceremonies will be held at 12pm on Thursday, August 8 at Yeo Valley Woodland and during the Bicclescombe Park annual open day on Tuesday, August 13.