Thank you to Pauline Hope from Westgate Park for kindly submitting the article below:
Westgate Park began about 40 years ago as a Caravan Holiday Park. Over the last 25 years or so it has become a Permanent Residential Park Home Site.
The older part of the park, Westgate Park, is situated on a slope from higher ground, the lower part of which was bounded by a hawthorn hedge.
Below this was a lower pasture area which ends at a dyke which drains surplus water to prevent the River Slea from flooding.
This area was eventually developed and became The Paddock, Westgate Park.
Prior to the development of The Paddock, the area below the hedge was used as a waste area for rubble, rubbish, garden waste indeed anything which needed to be disposed of and it now forms ‘The Bank’.
The public area of the bank is about 100yds long, 20ft wide top to bottom sloping at an angle of roughly 45°.
The hedge no longer exists as the hawthorns have grown into trees and this forms the rear boundary of 4 homes since situated at the top of the bank.
I was looking at it as I passed one day and thought how boring it seemed, unpruned shrubs in a variety of greens with seedlings of sycamore and hawthorn with goosegrass [ Cleavers] growing apace underneath. There was some colour from some shrubs and bulbs but not a great deal, despite the efforts of the previous Warden to deal with an area which required far more time than he had available.
So I decided that, as I enjoy gardening I would take it in hand and try and make it more visually attractive.
Then Carole Barrett, also a keen gardener, appeared at the top of the bank and she joined me [a bonus was instant friendship] and over the years we have, together, put many hours of hard work into making it a pleasure to look at.
Taking out diseased parts of trees, removing saplings of elder, hawthorn and sycamore. Digging out planting spaces, first removing rubble, old paint tins, bricks, wood and even an old car bonnet.
Residents and Carole and I have contributed plants, bulbs, donations to purchase perennials etc. No one disposes of any plant from their garden before asking if we ‘want it for the bank’. We have also had donations from the Park Owners and from Lifesure Home Insurance.
The end result has been worth it all.
Last year, Carole and I were given a Sleaford in Bloom Award for the Best Neighbourhood Community Garden.
Such a surprise, though the end result of our labours provides a colourful picture and gives pleasure to those who live around the bank as well as those who pass by.