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2021 marks the quarter century anniversary of the creation of Follaton Arboretum in Totnes, and to celebrate, SHDC have worked with local groups to make improvements for both wildlife and people.
2021 marks 25 years since Follaton Arboretum in Totnes was first laid out to provide a peaceful haven for wildlife and local people to enjoy. To celebrate this special anniversary, South Hams District Council have worked together with local community groups to make some "wellbeing and wildlife-welcoming" changes, including planting wildflower meadows and a ‘trees for bees’ copse.
In what the council called a "positive step forward" in their commitment to "improving biodiversity across the district", the new planting will introduce an abundance of species and create new habitats to support diverse wildlife. They say that new information signs and better access for wheelchairs and buggies will "help people to connect with the wildlife and enjoy the space even more", and "eco-friendly benches and bins made from recycled plastics" will make sure there’s a comfortable spot to "sit, relax and make the most of the well-being boost that nature offers".
One of the community groups that is active in the arboretum, The Incredible Edible, has been adding to the fruit trees in the community orchard, and another, the Forest Garden Group has planted, amongst others, some Monkey Puzzle trees.
Cllr Jonathan Hawkins, South Hams District Council Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing and Leisure said: “Spaces like the arboretum are vital for the local community in so many ways. By taking real action to encourage more diverse wildlife, we’re taking a positive step to enhance biodiversity locally.
“The health benefits of getting out and surrounding yourself with nature are well documented. That’s why we’re making this a space that even more people can access to reap the health and wellbeing benefits. Buggy and wheel-chair friendly paths will make it so much easier for people of all ages to get closer to nature and improve wellbeing.
"Finally, by adding more information signs local people can find out more about what is around them and discover just what a special place we have here in Totnes.
SHDC says that further improvements will continue over the coming months to complete the 25 year anniversary plans. These include:
Access for all – Work has started in preparing plans to resurface the main zig-zag access track to make it more suitable for people with wheelchairs, mobility scooters, push chairs and buggies. The path to the top was carefully engineered to allow people with mobility impairments to access the top, but over time the track has eroded and will receive a new surface to allow wheels to turn more smoothly.
Signs and information – The area was originally planted as a formal arboretum and is home to a wide variety of trees. For example, as you wind around the first two bends in the track there are around a dozen different varieties of oak trees planted, including scarlet, pin and fern leaved oaks. Labelling the trees will help people identify the different species and give more information.
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