A step back in time in Connaught Gardens

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 February 2020

Carolyn Trussell from Natural Habitat Design discusses the plan with Alan Fowler from EDDC Parks and Gardens, and Penny Ball from Sidmouth Arboretum. Out of shot is Sharon Scott who provided a lot of support before she left EDDC. Picture: Ed Dolphin

Carolyn Trussell from Natural Habitat Design discusses the plan with Alan Fowler from EDDC Parks and Gardens, and Penny Ball from Sidmouth Arboretum. Out of shot is Sharon Scott who provided a lot of support before she left EDDC. Picture: Ed Dolphin

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In the first of a regular column from Sidmouth Arboretum, Ed Dolphin looks ahead to plans for Connaught Gardens.

The Cretaceous planting plan for Connaught GardensThe Cretaceous planting plan for Connaught Gardens

Things are happening in Sidmouth's Connaught Gardens with community organisations, councils and local companies joining together to take you back to the time of the dinosaurs.

Following on from their collaboration with the town council to plant trees at sites around the town, Sidmouth Arboretum has teamed up with East Devon District Council (EDDC), the Sid Vale Association, and Devon Wildlife Trust's Seaton Jurassic to develop a fossil plant theme in areas of the garden that have become tired in recent years.

It is hoped the work will provide an enhanced educational experience for visiting families as well as complementing Sidmouth in Bloom's excellent displays in the garden.

Arboretum chairman Jon Ball said: "It's really exciting to be working on an innovative project in partnership with local organisations that will deliver a first-class asset for the town.

"We would like to thank Sharon Scott for all her support when she was with EDDC."

Over the next three years, three separate areas of the garden will be planted with trees and shrubs that link to the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic fossil records.

Local garden designers Natural Habitat Design have donated their time to research plants and draw up a professional planting scheme.

The plants will be paid for with a grant from the SVA's Keith Owen Fund.

A similar planting scheme has been designed for the area outside Seaton Jurassic, strengthening links along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Devon Wildlife Trust, which runs Seaton Jurassic, will be providing interpretation boards in Seaton and Sidmouth to tell people the story of the fossil links.

The whole scheme will be spread over three years with the Cretaceous area at the eastern end of the garden being developed this year.

The Cretaceous period, from 145 to 64 million years ago, was dominated by the large dinosaurs, but it was the time when flowering plants began to develop.

Among the first flowering plants to evolve were magnolias and palms and these will be a main thread through this part of the garden.

EDDC's Parks and Gardens team will do most of the spadework when planting begins next month.

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