Exmouth’s new ‘sensory garden’ has officially opened, providing a relaxing and colourful outdoor space for local residents and visitors to enjoy.
Philippa Davies exmouth.nub.news
It’s been created in the sunken seafront gardens next to the Pavilion, in a project led by Exmouth In Bloom and the Exmouth Art Group.
Two years of work has gone into designing and planting the garden, including the painting of a mural wall featuring pictures of animals and plants.
The finished garden has benches for people to sit on and low-level planters so that people in wheelchairs can appreciate the plants. These have been chosen to offer a range of colours, textures and smells, with herbs including bay trees being included.
It was officially opened on Monday, July 12, by Jeff Trail, chairman of Devon County Council and councillor for Exmouth.
How did the sensory garden come about?
The opening ceremony of the new sensory garden. Picture: Marion Drew
The idea was conceived by Gillie Newcombe, president of Exmouth Art Group, and developed with the expertise of Graham Bell, Horticultural Advisor on the committee of Exmouth in Bloom.
They felt that Exmouth had no suitable outdoor spaces for older people, and those with mental or physical health difficulties, to relax in.
They worked with East Devon District Council and Exmouth Town Council, to find a suitable site to develop. The project was also supported by Exmouth Chamber of Commerce and Exmouth Town Council.
Many local businesses supported the project, with donations of materials, special discounts, or advice. They include the Sun Lodge, Jewsons, Kings Garden Centre, Urban Earth and Friends groups. An army of volunteers gave their time and skills – including carpenter Mike Hole – or helped by donating plants or funding.
‘It comes at a time when so many people will appreciate it’
A view of the sensory garden, looking towards the seafront. Picture: Marion Drew
The garden is now ready for use, but the long-term vision is that it will continue to develop, maturing within the landscape. Its creators hope it will be a place to meet friends, or spend time alone in a tranquil natural environment.
Graham Bell of Exmouth In Bloom said: “This area is accessible to everyone at all times of the day and looks out over the beach and views beyond. It will keep on getting better and better.”
Gillie Newcombe, who has a background in health and social care, has been overwhelmed with the amount of support from across the town.
She said: “There have been donations of all types, from small bedding plants all the way through to mature trees and shrubs which can be over £200 each.”
“After what has been an awful 18 months for everyone, the sensory garden comes at a time when so many people will appreciate it.
Picture by Exmouth Art Group and Exmouth In Bloom
“We are also celebrating Exmouth Art Group’s 75th anniversary and Exmouth in Bloom’s 50th anniversary this year, so we are immensely proud to be able to finally unveil the results of another successful project together.”