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Mini Oasis: Sheffield’s Little Garden is full of exotic plants and a rich history UK News

Gardens of the Winfell Quarry

Created in an abandoned flagstone quarry over a century ago, the garden has a wide range of unusual trees and shrubs and is currently experiencing a boom as people spend more time outdoors.

For residents, the garden has become a magical place to discover with a young family or a place to sit and enjoy a few moments of tranquility.

The Friends of Whinfell Quarry Garden, a community group, have done essential work to maintain the site during the lockdown and they believe they are ready to welcome more visitors and friends.

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Gardens of the Winfell Quarry

The small garden has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. The site was used to quarry slabs before it was converted into a garden for Whinfell House in 1895 by steel industrialist Samuel Doncaster.

He traveled the world and collected rare plants to populate the garden, including seeds from giant California redwoods and Himalayan rhododendrons, which can still be seen today.

After Samuel Doncaster’s death in 1934, Whinfell House was purchased by another steel family, the Neills, who donated the garden to Sheffield City Council in 1968 and has since been open to the public.

The Friends of Whinfell Quarry Garden was established in 2001 to help raise funds for the site’s renovation and maintenance.

Gardens of the Winfell Quarry

Pauline Winn, Group Membership Secretary said: “I live in an apartment that overlooks the top of the garden and it’s beautiful. You see a lot of trees and you can hear the birds. It seems selfish not to share such a beautiful place.

“It is becoming a very important space for the local community. You can come and contemplate, get some fresh air and exercise or you can even work in the garden if you want. There are many educational opportunities for people of all ages to learn more about plants and the history of the garden.

“If anyone wants to join our monthly working groups, they are the third Saturday of each month, the next being September 18. We meet at the main entrance, no experience is needed and refreshments will be available. provided, “she added.

The garden is located in two abandoned flagstone quarries – Big Quarry and Little Quarry. Due to its sheltered position and humid environment, it is ideal for growing a wide range of plants.

Gardens of the Winfell Quarry

Pauline said: “We have two giant sequoias, brought in from California and planted by Samuel Doncaster himself. There are acers, which are beautiful colors, especially in the fall.

“We have a few flowering orchids in the spring as well as some unusual alpine plants and ferns. We also have a lot of rhododendrons and hydrangeas and some plants have nice smells, ”she added.

Besides exotic plants, Whinfell Quarry Garden is also home to a variety of wildlife, such as badgers, which, although never seen, leave obvious traces of their digging activity.

An owl nesting box and ten nesting boxes were set up earlier this year and many birds can be found in the garden, including blue tits, great tits and nuthatches.

Gardens of the Winfell Quarry

The ponds are regularly visited by frogs and newts and there is also a range of butterflies.

As more people head to local parks and green spaces during the pandemic, the garden has seen an increase in visitors over the past year.

Pauline said: “This is one of the stops on the Sheffield Round Walk, which is a 15 mile loop around the southwest edges of the city. We’re also next to the Whirlow Brook Park parking lot, so some people have discovered the garden that way.

“It was used well during the lockdown and people have found great benefits and will continue to do so. As a group, we just want it to be well maintained so that everyone can enjoy it.

Members of the Friends of Whinfell Quarry Garden are currently testing a list of activity ideas that people could try, especially young families with children.

One of them was a favorite game of Doncaster’s grandchildren at Whinfell House in the past called the Penny Game. You would start at the top of the career and flip a coin – turn right if it’s tails or left if it’s tails. Repeat at the next intersection and the next until you come back to the starting point.

Gardens of the Winfell Quarry

Other activities in the garden include tracing flowers by their scents, matching photos with descriptions and listening to birdsong and many more.

The group organizes working days every month, some of which have had to be canceled or adapted in the last 18 months. So the volunteers worked individually and in small groups, when allowed, to keep the garden tidy.

The first session of this year resumed in April and the next three will take place from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on September 18, October 20 and November 16.

No gardening experience is required and tools are provided by the Sheffield City Council Ranger Service. The work includes brush clearing, pruning and …

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This notice was published: 2021-08-27 13:44:32

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