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Community group transforms scrubland into park for locals to enjoy

Published: 9 March 2022

Wonford pocket park Wonford Pocket Park

A community in Exeter is turning an unloved and overgrown patch of scrubland into a pocket park for everyone to enjoy.

Community group Wonford Planters have spent the last two years transforming a small area off Burnthouse Lane into a much-loved park for locals.

Some of the funding for the project has come from two grants from the City Council.

Once an overgrown and unused patch of land, Wonford Pocket Park now has lovingly made planters, fruit trees, sensory shrubs and other plants for bees and butterflies and local residents to enjoy.

Before Christmas the group held a community wood crafting day at the pocket park. The event was facilitated by Wood for Good, part of Co Create Exeter, to make Christmas reindeer and the first of the raised beds.

In April Wood for Good will return to build the second raised bed and a bench seat. The raised beds will then be filled with compost and planted up with herbs and strawberries for the community to use.

Last month the group held a work day at the pocket park, planting fruit trees, one of them in honour of Mary Carpenter, a local woman who was born in Exeter in 1807 and spent her much of her life as an advocate for educational and social reform.

Group member Jenny Mitchelmore said the journey to transform the patch of land into a pocket park had been a long one involving the time, effort and passion of local residents.

Funding has come from a number of sources including the National Lottery, Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and the South West Water Neighbourhood Fund.

“It’s lovely to see things coming to fruition,” added Jenny, “There has been a lot of hard work from local people to make the pocket park what it is today. I have to praise everyone who has been involved, from the local people through to those who have helped fund the project.”

Cllr Amal Ghusain, Lead Councillor for Communities and Culture, said: “It’s lovely to see the transformation from an unloved patch of land to a real community asset that people in Wonford can enjoy for generations to come. This is the sort of project that the City Council loves to support.”              

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