Dig in and help bulbs total to break 600,000 barrier

Daffodil bulb planting at Peak Hill in 2013. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6320-44-13AW. To order

Daffodil bulb planting at Peak Hill in 2013. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6320-44-13AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders - Credit: Archant

Planting this month is set to take Sidmouth past the half-way mark in turning it into the ‘Valley of a Million Bulbs’.

The Sid Vale Association (SVA) project has hit the headlines across the world, won praise from competition judges, and this year’s planting is set to be bigger than ever.

During October, 220,000 spring bulbs will be planted across 26 sites, with everyone - from schools to sports clubs and businesses to charities - taking part. More volunteers are always welcome.

Bulb planting programme co-ordinator John Townsend said: “I estimate that over 300 volunteers from the valley will be involved this year - and by the end of October well over 600,000 bulbs will have been planted over three years.”

Nature will then aid the SVA in its million-bulb bid as the flowers, all from British stock, multiply.

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Some 13 new sites have been added to the planting programme, including the slope at Knowle facing Station Road.

It will see 30,000 snowdrops, 20,000 blue squills and 10,000 English bluebells planted in an area promised to be protected as public open space.

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The vision of the ‘Valley of a Million Bulbs’ was a suggestion made by the late Keith Owen in his bequest to Sidmouth.

But only a small amount of his £2.3million fortune has been spent on flowers. Over the last seven years, the SVA has made grants totalling nearly £650,000 to 136 other local projects. The cash has supported a range of activities, from a community wildlife garden to new boards for the surf lifesaving club.

The 1st Sidmouth Brownies will undertake the first bulb planting of the year in the Byes tomorrow (Saturday).

The SVA is encouraging people across the valley to give one to two hours this month.

Find out how and where to help by calling 01395 514236, or emailing info@sidvaleassociation.org.uk.

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