Two awards for Barnstaple green spaces

Forches and Yeo Valley projects recognised in South West sustainability awards

TWO Barnstaple open spaces have been recognised as some of the best in the South West.

The Forches Community Garden and the Yeo Valley Community Woodland have both been named two of 10 winners in Sustainability South West’s fourth annual Planting Places Awards.

The awards celebrate top examples of greenspaces from across the South West of England. They recognise the huge array of benefits that these spaces – and the hard-working people who look after them – have in supporting healthy, sustainable communities.

Among the other winners were the King George V Memorial Walk in Hayle, Cornwall, and Springfield Park in Cheltenham.

The Yeo Valley Community Woodland has provided a focal point for the area and is used by local residents for walking, dog walking and quiet enjoyment.

The project has been community led from the start and during the last three years some 13,000 trees and 3,000 hedge whips have been planted, many by the local community. Around 1,700 primary school children have planted more than 7,500 trees.

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Lead Member for Parks at North Devon Council, Cllr Eric Ley, said: “The woodland is a much valued and well used asset in the local area and this award is recognition for all the hard work put in by the friends group at the woodland, the local community, local school children and council officers.

“They have all played a part in supporting the woodland over the years and have been out planting the many thousands of trees in all weathers. This hard work has made it what it is today.”

The Forches Community Garden enables local people to take part in all aspects of vegetable planting and growing.

The aim is to grow enough produce to provide for the local housing estate and eventually to sell produce through a veggie box scheme.

Planting Places project manager, Lynn Gibbons, said: “These awards celebrate the importance of green spaces to both urban and rural communities and show the amazing things they can deliver.

“What’s been particularly heartening this year is what can be achieved when people work together – from local authorities partnering with communities to small charities working with large companies.

“It seems the value of green spaces is being recognised by all sorts of people.”

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