RANGERS at the Grand Western Canal are celebrating receiving the Green Flag Award for the second year running.

The popular canal, which is managed by Devon County Council as a Country Park and Local Nature Reserve, entered the award for the first time last year, and was successful at the first time of asking.

It is among a record 1200 green spaces in England and Wales to receive the honour from the Civic Trust, and recognises it among the best green spaces in the country.

The awards are judged against eight criteria: a welcoming place; healthy,safe and secure; clean and well maintained; sustainability; conservation and heritage; community involvement; marketing; and management.

The Grand Western Canal stood out after impressing the judges with its excellent use of green space, well maintained facilities and high standard of safety and security.

The judges feedback included comments about the Country Park’s attractive facilities and the fact it is well-love and well-used by the local community.

The Green Flag Award, which is managed by a partnership of environmental charities including Keep Britain Tidy, BTCV and Greenspace, is a national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales.

Only green spaces that are free to enter and open to the public are eligible to win an award through the scheme.

The award scheme began in 1996 as a means of recognising and rewarding the best green spaces in the country and was also seen as a way of encouraging other to achieve the same high environmental standards, creating a benchmark of excellence in recreational green areas.

Devon County Councillor Roger Croad, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Environmental Services said: "I am delighted that The Grand Western Canal Country Park has gained this award again following it’s success first time last year.

"It is a great achievement to be able to fly the Green Flag and it speaks volumes for the efforts of the staff and volunteers in managing the site to such a high standard.

"Their dedication and commitment is reflected in this outstanding success.

"The Canal and Country Park are a great asset to the people of Devon, providing a high quality free open space with the opportunity to enjoy a range of recreational activities and appreciate wildlife as well as helping boost the local economy by attracting visitors to the area.

"This award is a clear indication to visitors and local people that this park is a high quality green space which is well managed for everyone to enjoy.”