Building Sensory Gardens with local communitiesSensory 1

Our work at the Sensory Garden space at Stratford Park has continued at a steady pace with the group now only a few sessions away from completing the magnificent wooden seating in the amphitheatre area.

This piece of the sensory garden project has really tested all of us from the initial pencil drawings put together at the beginning of January 2020 with the first supporting posts of the seating installed in February before the first lockdown.

But since returning to work, the group has enjoyed and endured sun and rain to see the finishing line and complete the main seating area. 

Along with general maintenance of the garden area flower-beds and borders we hope to start on the final phase of seating that will top the amphitheatre. We intend to build five low level long seats made from Cedar of Lebanon and oak - timber felled or windblown from the park.

The project’s work at our outdoor base at the Beeches Day Care Centre, has continued with volunteers coming in on two shifts, with groups no bigger than six participants. The work, good humour and well-being that everyone on the Tuesday group is encouraged to Sensory 2be involved in really gets to the heart of what our work is all about.

The teams have been involved in several new projects on-site with a new design and build of Little Owl boxes, building a large raised bed to be used as a nursery and temporary home for hedgerow species, propagating Devil’s-bit scabious (thanks Sara G) for a Butterfly Conservation Trust project in the Stroud District and up-cycling garden tools donated to us via the eco shop.

Photos by Jon Haughton

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Sensory Garden 1

The Wednesday team have finished off the building of the pergola under the watchful eye of Mike McCrea, idverde contract manager at the park. The team has moved on to creating a large raised flower bed made from a Cedar of Lebanon tree (Cedrus libani) that had fallen in the park, increasing seating areas for the public by installing three oak benches and a hexagonal tree seat as well as completing a further section of footpath adjacent to the small child play area.

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We hope over the next few months to start preliminary work on the open space amphitheatre, creating seating space and steps to enhance the space for open theatre.

The work that has been achieved by all involved has put down a really good ‘marker ‘so to speak as the partnership and working relationship between Mike McCrea, the Iverde team (Paul, Shaun & Andy) and our staff and volunteers has been excellent even at some telling times during these first phases of the project.

Once again thanks to ALL involvedBags of help

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After being away for a number of weeks recovering from my hip operation I was really pleased to see the progress of the work whilst I’d been off. In my absence I must congratulate my colleague, Nadine Symkatz-kloss who led the volunteer group. Great work by all!

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As we now move from winter into spring on the garden project more of the main infrastructure for garden is now being completed. The top dressing for the main footpath through the garden has gone down, using a whacker plate (mechanical vibrating plate that compresses down the aggregate) on each layer. When the footpath is finished, wheelchair-bound and other members of the public will be able to move through the main sensory garden area.

Work has started on extending the patio area (see picture) as well as the construction of a pergola. Once finished, climbing roses will be planted giving shade, scent and colour to another area of the garden.

To add more colour, blossom and fruit including six different types of Gloucestershire apple varieties have also been planted and guarded along one side of the main footpath (see picture).

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If you’d like to know more about the project contact either Richard Lewis or


Clare Mahdiyone at Stroud Valleys Project on 01453 753358.








Creating a Sensory Garden, Stratford Park, Stroud 

Sensory garden 1The first stages of work building disabled footpaths at Stratford Park’s Sensory Garden Project are underway. This project is a partnership between Stroud Valleys Project, Stroud District Council (SDC) and other organisations. It won partial funding through Tesco supermarket’s ‘Blue Token’ community scheme that run with additional funding coming from SDC to support the project.

Phase 2 of the project is mapping out and creating the main disabled access paths through the sensory garden areas. At the moment the group are setting and fixing the footpath edging - an interesting task when fixing and bending metal edging.

 WheSensory garden 2n the footpaths are finished, the topping of the path will be a fine bonding aggregate with Type 1 crushed stone underneath, enabling wheelchair-bound and other members of the public to walk along the sinuous pathways. Both electricity and water supplies are also being fitted during this phase of the project. These will supply water and a power source for a number of the sensory features that will be created in the final Phase 3 of the project that hopes to engage with committed groups in creating different sensory areas in the garden.SDC Logo




Creating a new Sensory Garden in Stratford Park

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We are working in partnership with Stroud District Council and other community groups to create a new Sensory Garden in Stratford Park.


We have secured funding and plan to start working with volunteers on to the site on Wednesdays in May/June for a year.

Please get in touch with us if you are interested in joining the team.




In partnership with thSensory Garden Projecte Landscaping Team at Stratford Park, work has continued at pace to complete Phase 1 of the sensory garden. If you are visiting the park or leisure centre at any time you will be able to see the fantastic work that has been achieved by our volunteers. The area where the garden is being created can be found outside the main leisure centre entrance, what was the old putting green area, slightly hidden by the green shed that the group use for coffee, lunch and wet weather breaks!





The work by volunteers has been of a really good standard. We were asked to build a dry stone wall that is very ‘front of house’ for the public to see, which was quite a challenge for all involved, especially as some volunteers had no experience of walling. But everyone ‘mucked’ in, literally - learning to use a cement mixer for the Cotswold stone capping for the top of the wall. I have to say the walling work looks really great and everyone that has taken part in that bit of the project has gained lots of new skills - see photo of walling being finished.

Sensgdn comp01resizedSince the dry stone wall has been finished, time has been spent planting up in areas of the newly created bank. An order for further plants is due in the next few weeks so that the final planting and tidying up of Phase 1 will be finally complete.

I have to firstly say a big THANK YOU to all the volunteers involved in this part of the project, once again if it hadn’t been their interest and commitment in the project, we would not have met the deadlines. Total volunteer hours involved in the project so far are 562 hrs - meaning an in-kind contribution of over £3,500!

A big THANK YOU as well must go to Mike McCrea and the Landscaping Team, for their support and guidance through the different aspects of the project so far. Due to the standard of work that our volunteers achieved, the Wednesday Group working alongside Mike and his team hope to be tasked with further projects around the leisure centre parks and gardens in the next few months.

Stroud Valleys Project is a limited company,
registered in England and Wales

Registered number: 2224016    

Registered charity number: 900107


Stroud Valleys Project

8 Threadneedle Street




Tel: 01453 753358


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