Oldway Gardens - but from a distance...

View of the parterre and topiary yews at Oldway Gardens, Paignton

View of the parterre and topiary yews at Oldway Gardens, Paignton - Credit: Groundwork South 

Even a brief visit serves to show how passionate the volunteers are about the gardens of Oldway Mansion; the pride they have in their involvement and enthusiasm to see the once ornate grounds restored is evident. 

Yet the visit is a virtual one; the faces of the volunteers viewed on a screen and the hopes for the gardens shared via a keyboard.

Current restrictions mean it is not possible for anyone who doesn’t live locally to visit and so, many of us must be satisfied with keeping up to date from a distance - via the Oldway Gardens Volunteer Group’s Facebook page.

Happily, the posts are reliably regular. They include reports of the emergence of buds, bulbs, and further indications of the onset of spring as well as photos of the parterre, topiary yews, or the sweeping lawn that leads up to the mansion.

And more recently, there have been a series of posts where we are invited to ‘meet the volunteer’, telling us more about the local people who are generously offering their time and effort to help care for Oldway Gardens.

Jo Jones, Secretary of Oldway Gardens Volunteer Group, who has been busy putting ‘Meet the Volunteer’ posts on the group...

Jo Jones, Secretary of Oldway Gardens Volunteer Group, who has been busy putting ‘Meet the Volunteer’ posts on the group Facebook page - Credit: Submitted

There’s Tim, who chairs the volunteer group and brings an extensive knowledge of plants; Sue, who has been involved with setting up garden heritage tours; Pete, who helps with tasks such as bench repairs; Jo who oversees the Facebook group that has helped keep the community connected at a time when even neighbours can seem so far away; plus the many others who help in different ways with the care of this unique place. 

Of course, not everyone accesses social media and while Covid lockdown restrictions remain in place this may mean both virtual and actual visits are not possible for some.

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Perhaps when we do visit Oldway again it will be a bit like seeing a distant family member only once a year when you find that changes – and growth – are much more noticeable than if you were to see them regularly.

To volunteer at Oldway Gardens or to get involved with any Green Space in Torbay, please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940510616 or email hannah.worthington@groundwork.org.uk

Groundwork South logo, with green words set out a thick green line to create a triangle shape

Groundwork South - Credit: Submitted