The annual handing out of beach awards has seen Westward Ho! become the only North Devon beach to win the coveted Blue Flag status. But Croyde and Combe Martin have also joined Westward Ho! as winners of the nationally recognised Seaside Award for cleanliness and facilities. Only 31 beaches across the country have achieved both awards, and Westward Ho! has now attained Blue Flag status for a 12th year in a row. Both awards are quality marks for beaches that let visitors know they are clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as new tougher bathing water quality standards that came into force this year. Westward Ho! Councillor Peter Le Maistre said it was a well deserved reward for all the efforts made by councillors, council staff and a host of volunteer groups and residents who did so much to help in maintaining the beach to such a high standard. Hopefully the message that Westward Ho! offers some of the best water quality and beach facilities to be found anywhere in the country, if not the world, will travel far and wide, he said. Croyde Bay is looked after by Parkdean Holidays and its beach ranger Rose Roberts, an environmental biologist who leads a team in maintaining this area of outstanding natural beauty and site of special scientific interest, which picked up national praise in the awards. The awards recognise a quality that sets our beaches apart as some of the best, we want visitors to know theyll wake to a beautiful beach on holiday thats clean, safe and preserved for their next visit, said Parkdean chief executive John Waterworth.