Optimism is growing as community garden project gets under way

Work under way at Sidmouth's Port Royal for a community garden

Work under way to clear an unloved corner at Port Royal for a community garden - Credit: Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub

Work is under way to transform an unloved corner of Sidmouth into a community garden.

The project is being masterminded by Sidmouth In Bloom, Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub, Glenisla Terrace residents, Sidmouth Arboretum, Sid Valley Biodiversity Group and the Friends of the Byes and has the support of Sidmouth Town Council.

The idea is to reimagine a space at Port Royal and turn it into a sea-themed coral reef garden and create a wave themed border alongside the Ham.  

The area, which provides a key gateway for residents and visitors, connects people to the sea, the River Sid and the town centre. It is an area well used for public events such as Sidmouth Sea Fest and the internationally renowned Sidmouth Folk Festival.  It also connects up with the Sensory Garden, managed by Sidmouth in Bloom, next to the play park. 

Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub CIC successfully applied for funding to Sidmouth Town Council, the Sid Vale Association and to the Locality Fund of Devon county councillor Stuart Hughes.  

Local resident Pete Scott said: “We are well under way with clearing the border areas and new Viburnum hedges are being delivered for planting next week – which is the first element of the wave planting scheme.”

Lynette Talbot from Sidmouth In Bloom said: “This is a really good example of a community project with Glenisla Terrace residents developing and sharing ideas and taking a lead on the area opposite the play park.  Sidmouth Arboretum have pledged new trees, chosen because they will enhance the biodiversity of the area. ” 

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Louise Cole, director of Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub, said: “As part of the improvements to the area ,we have also started to repaint the Fish Wall Mural and children from Sidmouth C of E Primary School have worked on designs for the fish. 

“We have had to respond to the current covid restrictions of course, so are finding ways to ensure the children’s creativity is realised. We think now more than ever, contributing to and enjoying art in public spaces is important for us all.”

Coco Hodgkinson, artistic director of Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub, added: “We are also lucky to be working with sculptor Ben Barrel on the coral reef garden space and have commissioned a wave bench and pebble seating. This will be a lovely focal point for the garden where people can sit and relax.”

If anyone would like to be involved and volunteer on the project and help with weeding, planting and heritage research please email info@sidmouthcoastalcommunityhub.org

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