A new garden has been created in the churchyard of St James Church, Swimbridge in North Devon. From an area long fenced off, Community Spaces funding has helped to create a special place for everyone to enjoy.
The official launch, conducted by Lady Arran, takes places on June 16 at 2.30pm.
The Streamside Garden is an informal, wildlife friendly, natural space beside a stream where views of the village, church and green valley and hills can be enjoyed to the sound of running water.
Adding to the garden’s mainly native planting and wildflower meadow area are links to the village heritage. These include a granite field roller with specially carved text, an antique plough once used in the parish and two Mazzard trees, a unique North Devon cherry once common in the parish.
Project leader David Netherway said: “It is great to see the long planned garden in use and to be able to welcome the community and everyone who has helped, to celebrate the achievement with us”
A leaflet has been produced to be launched at the event containing notes on history, background and lots of details about the garden project.
A mown grass path runs through part of the meadow, along which stepping stones will run. These have been carved with words of a poem written by village school children aged 9-11.
Taking inspiration from the garden and its setting and working with class teacher Naomi Jefferies they wrote a poem that would give each a word for their own stepping stone. Letter carver and sculptor Gabriel Hummerstone, who had carved the roller text, worked with fellow carver Jim Eveleigh to show the children how to design text and to carve letters into slate. Each child working with professional tools carved their own stone with their own word for the poem.
Gabriel said: “Each child in the class has managed to invest their whole personality into this permanent medium. They have each thought hard about the word in the poem that they most wanted to carve and come up with designs that express the character of the chosen word such as, ‘magical’, ‘whispering’, ‘rippling’.
“Each child has managed to convey this special character after minimal tuition in a highly technical and disciplined art. The result is a uniquely characterful and outstandingly unaffected and unselfconscious work of art.”
Naomi Jefferies said: “The Swimbridge Garden Project has been a fantastic learning experience for all of the children in Class 4. They have worked as a team to create a wonderfully descriptive poem that is comprised of words carefully chosen by the children to reflect their thoughts and feelings about the riverside garden.”
For more about St James Church, visit www.swimbridgeparishchurch.org