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New garden accessible to all the senses

Illustration of the memorial tree that will feature in the garden

A new £60,000 accessible sensory garden is taking shape at Hollingworth Lake Country Park, which promises to deliver a diverse and balanced sensory experience to engage the senses.

Work began earlier in the year thanks to initial funding of £27,500 from Pennines Township to kick off the vision created by DK Garden Designs.

The garden, adjacent to the new café at the former visitor centre site, will include many elements to stimulate and engage all five senses, allowing visitors to experience nature in a unique and immersive way.

Various colours, shapes, and fragrances feature heavily in the design, which will be brought to life through different flowers and foliage.

A woodland walk and wide stone pathways made from non-slip materials will allow access for wheelchair users, and raised flower beds will provide easy access for all ages and abilities.

Plants and wind chimes will create sounds and movement, plus touchable elements such as sculptures, willow structures, and an orchard will be just some of the highlights.

Additional funding from a local memorial scheme has allowed for further planting and installation of a copper memorial tree and benches, which will sit proudly in the finished garden alongside several trees donated by the RSPCA.

Once completed, the multipurpose all-season site will be ready for educational purposes, and a living willow structure meeting dome funded by local company Fraudenburg UK will hold events and classes in horticulture.

Councillor Liam O’Rourke, the council’s cabinet member for climate change and environment, said: “This garden will introduce a significant new facility for our borough and allow rangers to develop community engagement activities, including wildlife and therapeutic gardening sessions, alongside volunteer sessions, where we hope to recruit more members to our Green Volunteer scheme.

“On top of many health benefits, the planned sights, sounds, and scents will offer a tranquil environment, providing a retreat away from the demands of daily life, and I cannot wait to see this inclusive area used to bring people together to connect, learn, and appreciate nature in the most beautiful of spaces.”

David Keegan added: "I'm so happy that DK Garden Design could create the plan for the new sensory garden. The layout has taken careful planning to make the garden accessible to all, focusing on delighting the senses along the way, which will evolve. There are still many exciting features to come, and I look forward to my continued connection, seeing the plan come alive for all to enjoy."

The garden is due to be completed in early 2024.

For details of walks and other activities taking place at Hollingworth Lake, go to visitrochdale.com

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