Wonford Planters formed in 2016. We are a small community voluntary gardening group and we all live on the Burnthouse Lane estate. Cuts to local authority funding have meant that a lot of the public green spaces in the area had become very unsightly and badly overgrown. This is where we step in.
We love our community and our aim is to enhance and improve these spaces for the benefit of Wonford residents and Exeter as a whole, making the whole area much improved for all who live here and anyone travelling through it.
In 2016 we began work on the mini-roundabout in Laburnum Road. This was very badly overgrown and will take some time to improve but it’s getting there. In the summer of 2016 Wonford entered the ‘Village’ category of South West in Bloom for the first time and we achieved a silver award. Wonford Planters as a group entered the IYN ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ category and we achieved ‘Level 3 – Advancing’. We were extremely proud to attain this level at our first attempt.
In 2017 we worked on the Wonford Green GP surgery gardens and planted many wildflowers.
We plan to plant more this year.
Another of our projects is the two spaces outside the One Stop shop and the Dolphin Fish & Chip shop in Burnthouse Lane. In 2016 we began to raise funds to make repairs and improvements to these spaces and enlisted the help of Graham Densham and his lads from the Dolphin.
We had various set-backs and delays in gaining information from Devon County Council and then found more funding had to be raised in order to get the repair work and improvements done. Finally, in January this year we achieved it.
Here are the before and after pictures.
The next steps now are to get these areas planted up with suitable shrubs and plants and we hope you will agree that it’s a vast improvement on what they looked like previously.
We are planning to enter South West in Bloom again this year and would greatly appreciate any feedback or ideas. Please contact us via our Facebook page, ‘Wonford Planters’, or Twitter, @wonfordplanters.
And finally, some history of our estate. During the 19th century the West Quarter of Exeter had become a slum area with overcrowded and unhygienic accommodation. The City Council embarked on an ambitious development of new housing, using some of the new ideas developed by the ‘Garden City Movement’. On 21st February 1928 a compulsory purchase order was made by the City Council for 90 acres of farmland on either side of a lane in Wonford, which took its name, Burnthouse Lane, after a farmhouse that burnt to the ground one Saturday night.
The estate was designed by city architect John Bennett with the ethos of the Garden City in mind. They built schools, churches, shops, a recreation ground and its own pub, the Dolphin, named after the Dolphin Tavern that was established in Guinea Street in the West Quarter in 1844. Bradley Rowe School (now Wynstream) was built in 1932 and was a mixed primary school with a separate secondary school. In 1937 boys from the secondary school were transferred to the Senior Boys School at Ladysmith Road and in 1952 the girls transferred to Priory High School (now Isca College).
Wonford Planters’ aim is to bring back some of the garden city ethos and reintroduce the power of plants and colour back into Wonford.
Thank you for reading.