Plan unveiled to restore 'magical' hidden garden in Sidmouth

A shady pathway in Glen Goyle

A shady pathway in Glen Goyle - Credit: Ed Dolphin

A ‘secret garden’ in the heart of Sidmouth is being restored by a group of local residents who are appealing for volunteers to help with the work. 

Glen Goyle is a small stretch of Victorian parkland in a gully with a stream in the Manor Road area. It has many beautiful trees and plants, but has become overgrown and neglected. 

Twelve months ago the Friends of Glen Goyle group was set up to look after the site and explore its heritage, under the auspices of the Vision Group for Sidmouth. The group, which describes the park as ‘a magical place’, now has its own website, newsletter and social media pages, and plans are being drawn up to clear up the park, improve its pathways and replant it. 

Trees and spring flowers in Glen Goyle

Trees and spring flowers in Glen Goyle - Credit: Mary Walden-Till

Group member John McGregor said: “At the bottom of my garden is the stream that runs through Glen Goyle. The badgers, foxes, squirrels and an occasional deer all come through the garden which runs the length of eight properties. Owls are also present. Whilst exploring during the strange days of Covid, I discovered the Glen's delights but was saddened by the neglect of many years. 

“It is apparent that this area was something special when it was constructed and it surely deserves to be brought to life and cared for once again.”  

He contacted East Devon District Council to get wooden railings replaced and a small wooden bridge repaired, making the parkland safer. The council’s Horticultural Technical Officer Paul Fealey became involved and has now offered to lead a regular working party with the Friends of Glen Goyle, where he will offer proper horticultural training. 

The first meeting of the working party will be at the entrance on Manor Road at 10am to 12.30pm on Thursday, June 9, and anyone who would like to help restore the garden is invited to come along. Tools will be provided but participants should bring their own mid-morning refreshments.  

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Group member Phil Lee said: “We intend to meet fortnightly. “There will be no commitment – and any help and time given will be appreciated.”  

For further information, contact sec@visionforsidmouth.org or go to https://visionforsidmouth.org/contact