Penryn Campus celebrates fifth successive Green Flag Award

21 October 2021

Greenhouse in the Secret Garden on Penryn Campus
Secret Garden Penryn
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Category: University news

Falmouth University’s Penryn Campus has once again been recognised by the Green Flag Awards.

The Green Flag Awards set the standard for the management of recreational spaces across the UK and around the world. We’re delighted that Penryn Campus has once again been recognised. 

The fifth successive win is testament to the outstanding work of the Grounds and Gardens team, who consistently work to ensure that Penryn Campus maintains the highest possible environmental standards, is intelligently managed and has outstanding facilities for visitors.

The last twelve months have seen the team vastly increase the wildflower areas on Penryn Campus; more than 4.5 acres has been designated for their growth. The team has also continued its tree planting planning, growing hundreds of trees from seed so that they’re armed with plenty of home-grown saplings when the next planting day comes. Recognition should also be given to the increasing number of student volunteers, who help the team maintain the campus’ green spaces.

Given the restrictions imposed on society to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic, the university’s green spaces have arguably never played such a vital role to the wellbeing of the Cornish community.

The Penryn Campus gardens have provided a haven for students, staff and locals alike to unwind, exercise and meet friends during a time of unprecedented difficulties.

Toby Nenning, Head of the Grounds and Gardens team, was thrilled to see the local community making use of the Penryn Campus gardens during lockdown.

“Local residents were only allowed one hour outside a day, and the walled garden was a haven for them”, Toby told us. “It was great to see the community embrace the site; we had people doing yoga in the mornings and visitors popping in throughout the afternoons.”

Despite the presence of these visitors, Penryn Campus was quieter than ever during lockdown. Toby revealed that the decreased footfall over the campus gardens had led to an increase in weeds - and there were other challenges for his team to deal with too.

As Toby told us, “You can’t prepare for the awards in the sense that the designated judge can turn up at any point in the year. When the judge turned up this year, we’d spent the previous two weeks making the Falmouth Campus look as good as possible for visitors from the G7!”

The team may have been caught on the hop, but Penryn Campus still passed the Green Flag’s rigorous examination.

“The Green Flag is recognised across the world, it’s not just a British thing”, Toby points out. “They only award it if it meets their criteria. The fact that it’s independently adjudicated makes it more important, and the judges are all active members of the industry; to get recognition from them is wonderful. It motivates the team to know we’re on the right track.”

Toby would like to encourage as many people as possible to explore the campus gardens, and whilst winter is just around the corner, there’s still plenty for visitors to look forward to.

“We have the sea of bluebells on Lime Avenue and lots of orchids around the site, but the main thing we’re famous for now is our Rhododendrons from the Himalayas.

“They came over to the UK from expeditions in the Victorian times and have found their way over to us – we hybridised them in the greenhouses in the walled garden. You can see them all around the outside of the walled garden, around Tremough House and the Italian gardens. They go all the way down the old drive to Penryn.”

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