Swimbridge opens its new garden

Joseph Bulmer

New community garden beside parish church is opened by the Archdeacon of Barnstaple.

A long-planned community garden beside St James Church in Swimbridge has been opened just in time for Christmas.

It is the culmination of a project to land beside the churchyard that hasn’t been used for a century into something the whole community can use and follows many years of work and planning by church members.

A �50,000 grant from the Big Lottery via the Community Spaces grants programme plus funding support from Devon County and North Devon councils meant work could start in August.

A wildlife friendly garden has been laid out with lawn and meadow areas, ornamental and mazzard trees plus fencing, seats and artwork.

There is still a little work to do, but to ensure it was open for the festive season, the Archdeacon of Barnstaple, David Gunn-Johnson agreed to dedicate the garden in a ceremony attended by more than 50 villagers.

“This new garden is a tribute to the work of many people and has created a lovely peaceful place to be enjoyed by everyone,” he said.

A further official opening event is planned for the spring when the garden is completely finished and volunteers have carried out more planting.