Councillor Iain Chubb presenting Lyra Henderson with her prize

History of much loved East Devon parks and gardens will be captured for posterity thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund award of £9,500

Interpretation panels for each of East Devon District Council’s eight parks and gardens are currently being developed by the council using information provided by local museums and local community members/groups. East Devon’s in-house design team are currently producing these ready for installation this spring.

The panels and a trail leaflet for this project have been made possible thanks to a £9,500 grant, which East Devon District Council successfully applied for from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The eight parks and gardens in the project are: Blackmore Gardens and Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth; The Glen, Honiton; Canaan Way, Ottery St Mary; Seafield Gardens, Seaton; The Green, Budleigh Salterton; Beach Gardens and Manor Gardens, Exmouth.

East Devon’s Parks and Open Spaces Improvement Officer Jane Nicholls has been working with primary schools (including Seaton, Sidmouth, Ottery, Beacon and Exeter Road), to bring together the stories about how the parks and gardens were created and the major events that have taken place within them.

Around 245 children from these schools have visited these parks and gardens to photograph them. Using the images that they have taken, as well as historic photographs, the children have also created their own drawings of the parks or gardens as they currently appear today, as well as pictures of how they think the sites would have looked in the past.

A judging panel, consisting of East Devon’s own graphic designer James De Leiburne, East Devon Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Iain Chubb and Jane Nicholls, has selected two winners from the children’s final drawings. Prizes including a bus pass donated by Stagecoach, allowing a family to visit all eight parks and gardens across the district, a picnic blanket so they sit down and enjoy the park and a free pass for pitch and putt donated by LED, are being presented to the winners at their schools by Jane Nicholls and Cllr Chubb.

Work is continuing on the trail leaflet, which will feature images taken/chosen by the children. The council aims to distribute the leaflets in June to local schools, tourist information centres, libraries and through council offices.

Commenting on the East Devon Parks Heritage Trail, Councillor Iain Chubb, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said:

This unique project is a marvellous way of sharing the history of East Devon’s eight much loved parks and gardens. These hold a special place in the hearts of many people, myself included, and the Heritage Trail is a great way of celebrating their importance to everyone, from local residents to visitors.

Nerys Watts from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is funding the project through Sharing Heritage, said:

East Devon’s open spaces play such an important role as havens from the bustle of daily life, and we are thrilled to help raise awareness of them and their historic value for as many people as possible. HLF is dedicated to making sure that everything we support can be used and enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.