Community area will have children's den, sensory playground and wildlife pond

Students and staff from Suffolk Rural have lent a hand with the Oaks Meadow project in Combs and Little Finborough

Students and staff from Suffolk Rural have lent a hand with the Oaks Meadow project in Combs and Little Finborough - Credit: Suffolk Rural

A four-acre plot of land in Combs is being transformed into an environmental community area - with long-term plans for a sensory garden, vegetable patches and dens for children.

The Oaks Meadow project is based in Combs and Little Finborough, in Mid Suffolk.

It is funding the scheme to turn the plot of land into somewhere which can be enjoyed and used by those who live nearby.

Suffolk Rural students and staff with Desiree Shelley, chair of the Oaks Meadow project

Suffolk Rural students and staff with Desiree Shelley, chairwoman of the Oaks Meadow project, who is pictured second from left - Credit: Suffolk Rural

Desiree Shelley, chairwoman of Oak Meadows and owner of the land, said: "We wanted to bring everyone together by creating an ongoing project for our village that leaves a lasting legacy.

"The long-term plan is to have a den for children, a wildlife pond, a reflective area, a sensory garden, a playground, an outdoor exercise place for adults, vegetable patches and an orchard that will include Catherine apple trees, a variety of apple that originates from the village.


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"We intend to do this over a two-year period and if everything goes to plan, in around three years from now, we would love to start work on the creation of a village hall.”

Sensory gardens often have stations to stimulate the senses — for example, objects which are shiny, make a noise, soft, create a breeze, make a movement — and are often used for people with special needs or as therapeutic gardens for people with dementia.

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Plans for the enterprise were first drawn up in February 2020. However, when the pandemic hit, things were put on hold.

As restrictions have eased, work has been able to resume and students from Suffolk Rural lent a helping hand after The Woodland Trust donated trees to kick-start the project earlier this week.

16-year-old Kerrianne Worthington from Felixstowe is a level two horticultural student at Suffolk Rural

16-year-old Kerrianne Worthington from Felixstowe is a level two horticultural student at Suffolk Rural - Credit: Suffolk Rural

Kerrianne Worthington, from Felixstowe, aged 16, is a level two horticultural student at Suffolk Rural and said: “Being involved in a project that helps future generations is very rewarding.”

Horticultural lecturer at the college, Nick Nicholson, said: “We would love to have a long-term connection with this project as it’s great for the community, nature and the environment — our students have really enjoyed being involved.”

Learners on tree surgery courses have also been assisting with some hedge cutting.

Mrs Shelley added: “It’s brilliant that students and staff from Suffolk Rural have come on board to lend their expertise.

"We have volunteers within the community, but any outside help is a real boost. We are very grateful.”

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