In 2013 the old oak tree near the park entrance had died and it was to be cut down for safety reasons. We suggested to the Parks team that they leave the main part of the trunk standing and lay the top section down so we could create a wood sculpture. Visitors to the Park were surveyed and the decision was to go for a wizard and dragon. We were fortunate to secure a grant from the Essex Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) for a project including the statue, holding story-telling sessions and refurbishing the old first aid hut. The sculptor was Neil Bruce, who had created the Gruffalo Trail in Thorndon Country Park.
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The Peace Tree and Seat
Completed November 2015
In the Autumn of 2014 it was decided to plant a tree of Peace to commemorate the 1914-18 war. We approached the Mayflower Rotary Club who kindly funded the olive tree. The project was to be completed by installing a seat and Mayflower Rotary Club offered to provide the lovely hardwood hexagonal seat to go around the tree. The Friends supplied and laid the hexagonal Indian limestone base and istalled the seat
The Information Centre
Completed April 2015
The old first aid hut had sat empty for over thirty years but the Friends thought that it would be good to refurbish it, if feasible, and use as an Information Centre. We managed to get funding from Essex CIF for materials and with more than 150 hours of input from members the refurbishment was completed. The final piece in the jigsaw was to use all the information that we have collected to create ten interpretive boards. We are building up a group of volunteers who will open the Centre on a planned basis.
The Sensory Beds
Completed September 2014
The beds were created so that those who are in wheelchairs or who are less mobile, could enjoy different plants:
Smell – violets, rosemary, curry plant, thyme, chocolate cosmos and mint
Touch – lambs’ ears,
Taste – perhaps a wild strawberry or two, or some of the herbs
Sound – rustling grass
Sight - miniature iris, tulips and daffodils
Work is ongoing with more plants planned for this Spring and Summer.
The Outdoor Gym
Funded by Basildon Community Investment Fund, the eight pieces of equipment were installed in the summer of 2015 and have been well-used by all age groups.
The Flower Meadow
First sown in April 2014
The idea of our Park’s Supervisor, the flower meadow was designed by our past chairman Jonny Garlick, using an ‘S’ shaped path as a link with Major Spitty. 'Log Creature' sits amidst the flowers and is a popular place for children, with nearby ‘story stools’ set around him.
Flowering throughout the summer and into the autumn, the flowers have given so much pleasure to people, not only from our own community but others from far and wide, who come specially to see it.
Baby Changing Unit
Many requests from parents with young children had been made regarding the provision of baby changing facilities. We were offered funding by the local pre-schools from their "Teddy Bears Picnic" event., which ran for many years at the park, and within weeks the brand-new unit was installed.
Picnic Tables on the north side of the Lake
A need for picnic tables in the park was identified some time ago. In 2013, Waitrose included the Friends in their Community Matters green token scheme and as a result, with the help of local shoppers, we were able to provide one table and Basildon Borough Council provided two more. The tables have room for a wheel chair at one end and they overlook the flower meadow.