A long-term project to make lasting improvements to Follaton Arboretum in Totnes is close to completion, South Hams District Council (SHDC) has said.

The site on the edge of the town and close to SHDC’s offices at Follaton House is considered a treasured outdoor space.

Up to 40 large trees and several hundred saplings have been planted to complement existing trees with the aim of creating new copses. There has also been extensive pruning to open up the entrance, while spaces have been enhanced for wildflowers to grow and to restore wildlife habitats.

The main path from the site entrance to the top of the arboretum has also been resurfaced.

With the work completed, attention will turn to replacing the pagoda at the top of the arboretum and a new 'tree trail' with a possible surfaced path extension, some of which will require external grant applications.

Cllr John McKay, South Hams Executive Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity, said: "Visitors to the arboretum should see a noticeable improvement and biodiversity is bound to improve following the hard work of our Grounds Maintenance team in partnership with ParkLife SW and volunteers.

"Southern marsh orchids seem to be benefitting well, with over 200 counted on the lower slopes this summer.

"Enjoying the outdoors is a hugely important part of our wellbeing, so I'm also delighted to see that the path has been improved too, opening up the arboretum to even more visitors. It's a great space for walking and I hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to visit and explore the arboretum."

The works have been carried out by the District Council's Grounds Maintenance team and Parklife South West, a local environment community interest company.

Keith Rennells, a Director of Parklife South West, said: "It is great to have made good progress over the last couple of years with enhancing the arboretum for people and wildlife. It is an important space for the community, with local groups focusing their activities at the arboretum, and people visiting for enjoyment and exercise in a natural space.”