New sensory garden opened at Sheringham community smallholding

Five-year-old Sheringham Woodfields pupil Lillie Ocean Deller-Morris checking out her reflection at

Five-year-old Sheringham Woodfields pupil Lillie Ocean Deller-Morris checking out her reflection at the Patch sensory garden with dad Jay, mum Janice and 13-month-old sister Rafaella. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

The final strand of a three-year horticultural project has been planted, with the opening of a sensory garden at The Patch Community Smallholding in Sheringham.

The new, £15,000 garden, which has been planted with tactile and fragrant grasses, herbs and flowers.

It also has wind chimes, sails and windmills, with gently winding pathways leading to a central area covered by a brightly coloured canopy.

The garden marks the completion of a £190,000, Lottery-funded scheme which saw an area of overgrown land behind Sheringham High School transformed into a learning and growing area.

The Patch, which is the result of a partnership between local charity Break, Sheringham High School, Woodfields School and Sheringham Primary School, is used by local schools and community groups including Corpusty and Holt Children's Centre, the North Norfolk Workout Group and Cromer-based disability charity About With Friends.


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It has fruit and vegetable growing areas, poly tunnels, a gazebo and an on-site meeting room with toilets and kitchen.

The Patch, which last year won the John Sweeney Award for the Environment and has been shortlisted for this year's Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, also runs an adopt-a-chicken scheme and generates up to £4,000 a year from the sale of eggs and produce.

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Sheringham Woodfields School business manager Matthew Smith, who has been involved with the project since 2011, treated visitors at the opening of the sensory garden to cupcakes and scones he baked himself with Patch eggs and jam made from Patch strawberries.

Mr Smith hoped to encourage more groups and individuals to take advantage of the project's facilities, and eventually aimed to double the income from the sale of produce.

'The sensory garden really is the completion of a labour of love,' he said. 'And I am overjoyed that we are able to offer this to the community free of charge.'

The new garden, which has been funded by a £10,000 North Norfolk District Council Big Society Fund grant and £5,000 in private donations, had yet to come into its own, he added.

Finishing touches, including a water feature, an apple orchard and outdoor musical instruments, were due to be installed in the near future.

'What is wonderful is that, even though some of our students are blind, deaf and wheelchair-bound, the garden is accessible to everyone, however complex their needs,' Mr Smith said.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who officially opened the sensory garden, praised the 'immensely impressive' hard work and dedication of Patch staff and volunteers.

'I am amazed and overwhelmed by this wonderful resource for the community and I think it will be incredibly rewarding for everyone who uses it,' he said.

?For more information about The Patch, or to find out about the adopt-a-chicken scheme, visit www.the-patch.co.uk

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