A secret place in the heart of Honiton

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:01 04 May 2017

Millennium Green. Ref mhr 12-17TI 9241. Picture: Terry Ife

Millennium Green. Ref mhr 12-17TI 9241. Picture: Terry Ife

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Honiton's Millennium Green offers some calm in what can be a busy world. We take a look at some of what is on offer at this quiet spot.

Millennium Green. Ref mhr 12-17TI 9250. Picture: Terry IfeMillennium Green. Ref mhr 12-17TI 9250. Picture: Terry Ife

People have such busy lives that it is often easy to miss some of the tranquil spots which residents can visit to enjoy a moment’s peace and quiet - such as the Millennium Green.

Kassa Retter, trustee and chairman, said: “As the trustees of the Millennium Green, we hold the land on trust to provide and maintain it as an open space for all who live and work in Honiton. It is vital we achieve a sensible balance between tidying up where necessary and leaving alone when it isn’t. Our aim is to encourage a delicate balance with nature.

“Easy options, like leaving the nettles in a sunny corner, as these are food plants of several butterflies and moth species, and piles of hedge trimmings at the foot of the hedge bank to benefit the insects, small mammals and fungi, all help.

“Later in the year, as autumn approaches, we have a glut of apples and wild blackberries. The hedgerows seem to drip with purple fruit and, of course, we also have the brilliant reds of the rowan and holly berries. You can sit on the benches and look out over the Green at the brilliant gold and orange colours as the leaves begin to turn, against the rich green of the conifers and then the bare brown branches as the leaves start to fall.

Millennium Green. Ref mhr 12-17TI 9243. Picture: Terry IfeMillennium Green. Ref mhr 12-17TI 9243. Picture: Terry Ife

“When I was in the Green towards the end of last year, two children had found a grasshopper and they were watching the ants gathering their harvest for winter. Their faces were a pleasure to watch. It is wonderful to see people of all ages enjoying the treasures of the Millennium Green.”

Reflecting on last year, Kassa said the Trustees and Millennium Green Committee had had a productive time, having set up a rota of volunteers to cut and strim the grass and bank areas.

She said: “We would like to express our sincere thanks to all our helpers as, without them, the green would not look as good as it does. We have recreated the wetland/pond area, which was unfortunately damaged by vandals at the start of 2016 and I am pleased to report the frogs and newts did not seem to be affected too badly.”

She also said the green had hosted a number of children’s birthday parties, family picnics and the annual Charter Day Band concert.

She said: “The Millennium Green is an escape, a place of calm and peace where you can watch and listen to wildlife and let the troubles of the world pass you by. It appears we have created a sanctuary for wildlife. We already have an abundance of birds, from wrens to woodpeckers. We are also now welcoming small animals such as rabbits, voles and squirrels that are taking up residence in the Green, but what I am most proud of, is in the autumn, when sitting on the top bench and looking across at the thick hedge with a large blackberry bush intertwined, sat one of our smallest British mammals, the harvest mouse.

“He seemed fearless, just munching on the berries, with his prehensile tail gripping around the branch. I watched, trying not to make a sound, but he soon scampered off into the dense undergrowth. It was magical, a secret place in the heart of Honiton where the circle of life continues.”

If you have never spent time in the Millennium Green, take advantage of this jewel of Honiton and if you would like to become involved in safeguarding the area for future generations get in touch with Kassa on 01404 861392 and you will be warmly welcomed.

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