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New garden in Combs hopes to provide community with green healing space



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A green-fingered charity has created a medicine wheel garden in the hopes of bringing a community together and to counter rural loneliness and isolation.

The Oaks Meadow Project is a small charity that holds the lease to a four acre meadow near Combs and Little Finborough.

During this year’s Summer Solstice on Tuesday, the team started to put together this latest project - a circular garden full of medicinal flowers and herbs.

Trustees of the Oak Meadow project in Little Finborough, Sue Green, Ian Clark, Deisree Shelley, Steve Green and Sara Waterer pictured at the site of the construction of a Community Medicine Wheel garden. Picture: Richard Marsham
Trustees of the Oak Meadow project in Little Finborough, Sue Green, Ian Clark, Deisree Shelley, Steve Green and Sara Waterer pictured at the site of the construction of a Community Medicine Wheel garden. Picture: Richard Marsham

Desiree Shelley, chairperson of the trustees of the charity and a medical herbalist, said: “A medicine wheel garden is a sacred space for healing, meditation and tranquillity.

As the plants and herbs mature, it will look really quite wonderful.”

The garden is separated into four quadrants which will each hold colourful plants that represent new beginnings, creativity and freedom.

The community painted rocks which form part of the medicine wheel garden. Picture: Richard Marsham
The community painted rocks which form part of the medicine wheel garden. Picture: Richard Marsham

The charity encouraged members of the community to contribute their own plants to help build the display.

This included St John’s wort, lavender, strawberries and lemon balm. The garden also features logs and stones painted by residents.

Oaks Meadow, which has previously been used for the Combs village fete and Maypole dancing, already has a pond with a jetty, and the charity has planted an orchard on the site.

The Oaks Meadow Project began during lockdown with the support of the parish, district and county councils, to provide the residents in the two villages a chance to get outside and socialise with people.

An upturned tree root makes for an eye catching centrepiece. Picture: Richard Marsham
An upturned tree root makes for an eye catching centrepiece. Picture: Richard Marsham

“The villages of Combs and Little Finborough have not got anything,” Desiree said, “we have not got a pub, a shop, nothing at all really.

“There are footpaths around the area, but there is nowhere to actually go and meet people to socialise.

“So the whole project is all about addressing rural isolation and loneliness whilst also creating a green space.”

The Oak Meadow Project hopes that the new garden will build community socialisation in Little Finborough and Combs. Picture: Richard Marsham
The Oak Meadow Project hopes that the new garden will build community socialisation in Little Finborough and Combs. Picture: Richard Marsham

The next development for the Oaks Meadow Project is installing a new playground, making the site even more inclusive for people to enjoy the space.

Desiree said: “I think we have achieved quite a lot in only a short amount of time.

“We have only been together for about 18 months and I am really proud of what we’ve achieved so far.”