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'Unloved' Sidmouth space to be turned into Coral Reef Community Garden

By The Editor

26th Aug 2020 | Local News

The new garden is being planned for the area next to the Ham public green space, currently closed due to the replacement Alma Bridge works.
The new garden is being planned for the area next to the Ham public green space, currently closed due to the replacement Alma Bridge works.

Sidmouth Town Council has approved a collaborative proposal from Sidmouth In Bloom, Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub and a group of Glenisla Terrace residents, Sidmouth Arboretum, Sid Valley Biodiversity Group and Friends of the Byes to reimagine an unloved space and turn it into a sea themed Coral Reef Community Garden.

This project is part of a wider creative art and planting regeneration initiative to redesign the borders alongside the Ham with a new wave themed planting scheme.

The rose garden next to the Fishermen's yard, is already being improved by Sidmouth In Bloom supported by its sponsors The Royal York and Faulkner Hotel.

The project will bring together community skills and volunteers to make a timely contribution to the area to make it a more attractive and useful space.

The new garden is being planned for the area next to the Ham public green space, currently closed due to the replacement Alma Bridge works. It houses the Town Council information boards which will be relocated nearby to create space for new planting and seating.

Working together, the community groups are undertaking specific roles to use their specialist knowledge and passions to the garden including uncovering the heritage of the area which is on the site of the old gas works.

Local resident Janet Strapp said; "It is an absolute pleasure to be a very small part of this exciting project. Bringing together the skills and knowledge from all the groups whilst not forgetting the residents. Well done to those groups and look forward to seeing it develop."

The Sid Valley Biodiversity Group will survey the area and with Sidmouth In Bloom the design will incorporate bird and bat boxes and plants that will both survive the salt conditions and encourage insects and wildlife.

About the two areas for rejuvenation Lynette Talbot, Sidmouth In Bloom said: "This area would give protection from the sea winds to residents and visitors to sit, chat, and eat while giving a pleasant view towards the new bridge. The border is to consist of a repetitious sinuous planting scheme to reflect movement of the sea in blues, white, and yellow."

The space will be designed with art incorporated into the planting scheme, the coral reef theme has been chosen to tie in with Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub's 2020 theme Life Below Water - preserving our oceans.

"The health of our coral reefs is important to protect biodiversity, the theme of this new garden will help us to creatively promote protection of our marine environment such as reducing single use plastics. Through this project we can engage people in conversations, raise awareness and connect through art and planting to create a beautiful space for people to enjoy," said Louise Cole, Director of Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub.

As part of the improvement SCCH plan to weed, clean and repaint the Fish Wall Mural with local children repainting the individual fish.

A public meeting to recruit volunteers to weed and help to plant the new border scheme is planned for October.

The Sid Valley Biodiversity Group have undertaken a survey of the area and Sidmouth Arboretum have already tagged the existing trees to record the species and advise on managing them.

Research into the heritage of the area is underway and the groups together plan to design information boards as part of the redesign. A funding proposal is in development.

If anyone would like to get involved and volunteer on the project and help with weeding, planting and heritage research please email [email protected]

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