The University of Exeter’s spectacular campuses have been recognised as being among the best green spaces in the country.
The grounds at the Streatham, St Luke’s and the University’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall have all been awarded prestigious Green Flag awards once again for the quality of their horticulture, trees, plants and flowers, as well as their facilities, which are enjoyed by students, staff and visitors.
The University of Exeter’s Streatham campus is a registered botanical garden, with many “champion” trees which are the biggest of their type in the country. Many were brought to the country from around the world by collectors for the Veitch family. Other Veteran trees are important habitats for insects and other wildlife because they have a “disfunction” such as fungus or holes. Highlights of the campus include a Colletia near Reed Hall and a national collection of Azaras. The 150 hectares also includes the St Luke’s campus and sports pitches in Topsham and near Exeter Quay.
Visitors can download trails to help them explore different aspects of campus, from trees to sculptures and horticulture.
This year grounds staff have experimented, while the campuses have been quieter, with leaving the grass in some areas longer to benefit wildlife. Fewer people using the spaces has also encouraged a greater influx of birds onto the campuses.
This is the ninth year the Streatham campus has been given a Green Flag, and the seventh time for the St Luke’s campus and fourth year for the Penryn campus.
David Evans, Grounds and Sports Operations Manager for the Exeter campuses, said: “We work very hard to create and maintain special spaces for staff, students and visitors to work in and enjoy and it’s wonderful to retain our Green Flags.
“We are always exploring new ways of making sure our campuses are a haven for wildlife and biodiversity, and we are very proud to protect so many nationally important plants and trees.”
Penryn Campus is shared by Falmouth University and the University of Exeter Cornwall and the historic grounds are open to the public. Both universities are dedicated to sustainability under the Climate Emergency banner and a key part of this involves supporting green spaces and biodiversity on campus. To celebrate the Green Flag retention Tremough House on campus was lit up in green this week.
Oliver Lane, FX Plus Director of Residences and Facilities, whose Grounds Team maintain Penryn Campus, said: “We’re delighted to have retained our Green Flag and are excited to be joining many famous venues around the country ‘going green’.
“Winning the Green Flag this year is set against the background of the Coronavirus pandemic, which has made it even harder for our Grounds Team to work and ensure the campus remains beautiful, sustainable and safe. A big thanks to the team – headed by Toby Nenning.”
The Penryn grounds blend historic sub-tropical planting with newly created landscapes and are a haven for a diverse range of plant and animal species. The gardens are open to everyone include a walled garden; herbaceous beds; sub-tropical planting; fruit producing orchard; Italian garden and terraces; an 18th Century lime avenue; parkland; a drive with Pinetum native woodlands and historic rare rhododendrons which were cultivated on the site in the Victorian era.
The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world. Now into its third decade, the award is a sign that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.