It’s not all about sun, sand and sea in Devon – there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy lush greenery too and this year, you can be sure of visiting some of the best parks and gardens in Britain as even more Devon greenspaces have been awarded a Green Flag award.

The Green Flag awards are run by Keep Britain Tidy and each park or garden that receives one has to follow a strict criteria. The awards are the national benchmark for quality parks and gardens and have been running for 27 years. In 2023, 29 parks and gardens across Devon have made the cut, with many of them located within Devon’s top destinations.

If you fancy spending some time enjoying some greenery this summer, perhaps with a picnic or the dog, here is the list of Green Flag winners for this year.

Babbacombe Downs, Torquay
Bicclescombe Park, Ilfracombe
Central Park, Plymouth
Clennon Lakes, Paignton
Cockington Country Park, Torquay
Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth
Courtenay Park, Newton Abbot
Decoy Country Park, Newton Abbot
Devonport Park, Plymouth
Drake’s Place Gardens and Reservoir, Plymouth
Freedom Fields Park, Plymouth
Grand Western Canal Country Park, Tiverton
Ham Woods Local Nature Reserve, Plymouth
Homeyards Botanical Gardens, Shaldon
Kingsbridge Recreational Ground, Kingsbridge
Manor Gardens, Exmouth
Princess Gardens and Royal Terrace Gardens, Torquay
Seafield Gardens, Seaton
Seaton Wetlands, Seaton
St Mary’s Park Brixham
Stoodley Knowle Meadow, Torquay
Stover Country Park and Nature Reserve, Newton Abbot
Tessier Gardens, Torquay
The Den, Teignmouth
The Hoe Park, Plymouth
University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, Exeter
Victoria Park, Plymouth
West Hoe Park, Plymouth
Yeo Valley Community Woodland, Barnstaple

Some parks, including Cockington Country Park, have won a Green Flag every year since 1996 and is well worth a visit. Other winners this year that you should add to your itineraries include the Grand Western Canal Country Park where you can find one of the only remaining horse drawn barges, as well as beautiful walks, plenty of picnic spots and a host of family friendly activities. The site is even home to one of the only floating café bars in the country and is often lauded as being the best beer garden in Devon.

To achieve Green Flag status, recipients need to understand and take action to conserve the site and use it to help people understand and enjoy the region’s history, something several of Devon’s parks manage to perfection!

Speaking about the latest round of awards, Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Chief Executive at Keep Britain Tidy, told reporters: Our parks continue to provide a vital sanctuary for communities to play, grow and bond. The news that 106 parks in the South West, 29 of which are in Devon, have achieved the Green Flag Award standard reflects the tireless work of those tasked with looking after these regional assets.

“At Keep Britain Tidy, we’re very proud of the Green Flag Award, a crucial component in ensuring the continuing quality of our parks and green spaces, making sure they are managed to the highest standards and are safe and accessible, we believe it should be a minimum standard for every park, and that everyone, wherever they live have access to a high-quality green space.

“Parks play a key role in the health and well-being of the nation not only in the physical and mental health of us all but also in the environmental health of the planet. Congratulations to all this year’s winners.”