Owners of Woodbury Common, Clinton Devon Estates, have praised Royal Marines recruits for spending four days picking up rubbish.

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The Royal Marines have trained on Woodbury Common since World War Two.

And every year since then they annually spend part of the summer combing all 2,500 acres of the common picking up litter.

Exercise Woodbury Sweep is divided into four recruit teams, collecting litter on different days in different areas.

The rubbish is a mix of civilian litter left on the common and rubbish found in areas where the military have had exercises.

While the Royal Marines are told not to leave litter, sometimes they have to move positions in the dark so there may be items left in some areas.

The exercise follows Royal Marines helping Clinton Devon Estates to clear the invasive Himalayan balsam plant.

Warrant Officer Richard White said: “We do it to give something back to the community we live and work in and ensure Woodbury Common is a pleasant place for everyone to visit.

“We are not sure how many sacks the recruits collected in total but it would have been a fair amount of rubbish.”

Dr Sam Bridgewater, nature conservation manager for Clinton Devon Estates, said: “It’s great to have so much manpower behind efforts to manage the commons and keep them free from litter.

“Taking a partnership approach and pooling resources is the best way to tackle this problem. The Royal Marines have been working with us for many years now and we’ll continue to develop our long term strategy to address this issue.

“Their help speeds up the process hugely and helps us to continue our work to protect this unique habitat. We are very grateful for the assistance of the Royal Marines, and other members of the community.”

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