‘A very good start’ was made when the working party set up to restore Sidmouth’s ‘secret garden’, Glen Goyle, met for the first time on Thursday, June 9.

More than 12 volunteers gathered at the former Victorian parkland in the Manor Road area, which has many beautiful plants and trees, but has become neglected and overgrown.

The Friends of Glen Goyle (FOGG) was set up over a year ago, after conversations between members of the Sid Vale Association's history group and the Sid Valley Biodiversity Group about the heritage and nature along the Glen. The Vision Group for Sidmouth then formally set up FOGG and contacted Paul Fealey, Horticultural Technical Officer with East Devon District Council, which owns Glen Goyle. He welcomed the news that a group had come together to sensitively restore the park to its former Victorian glory, and agreed to come on board.

The first working party event began with an introduction by Paul, talking about the state of the plants along the stretch of the Glen. The group then set to work clearing overgrown areas of ivy and brambles.

Phil Lee, founding member of the Friends of Glen Goyle, said: “Paul gave us a good insight into pruning, what to remove, and what to keep, and what to cut back and by how much, describing the environment, and what we can grow in it. Very interesting.

“It worked, as I sensed that people really enjoyed the educational introduction, as it then made the work much more meaningful.

“We then started work by clearing areas for planting, and generally removing brambles and the like. “Paul then provided some suitable plants, which we planted out.”

“So, a very good start, and a big thank-you to Paul for setting us off in the right direction.”

The Friends of Glen Goyle will be meeting every Thursday morning from 10am to 12.30 at the entrance on Manor Road. Paul is happy to give training to the volunteers, while members of his own council team tackle the more inaccessible areas. For more details and to join the mailing list, get in touch at https://glengoyle.vgsidmouth.co.uk/contact-us