'Secret Garden' hidden below Blackpool's Yeadon Way

Motorists who use Yeadon Way will not realise there is an enclave of peace and quiet in the shadow of one of Blackpool’s busiest roads.

Monday, 27th December 2021, 9:40 am
Updated Monday, 27th December 2021, 9:42 am

For just below the carriageway which carries millions of visitors into the resort each year, lies the Secret Garden at the back of Watson Road Park in South Shore.

In years gone by it was used by the council’s parks department as a growing area, but for the last 15 years it has been in the hands of the Friends of Watson Road Park.

The Princes Trust has just completed a project to restore a pagoda which had fallen into disrepair, and is now part of a memorial garden.

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(From left) Coun David O’Hara, Mavis Oldroyd, Vaughan Ralph, Anthony Holroyd, John Carter and Bill Eccles.

While in summer the Secret Garden bursts with colourful blooms, even in winter it is a haven for the volunteers and visitors who use it.

Bill Eccles, chairman of the Friends of Watson Road Park, said: “It’s accessible every morning and we have lots of people visiting, including the children from nearby Thames School.

“Some people walk in and say they didn’t know it was here.”

Over the years the Friends group has raised around £130,000 towards the upkeep of the park, from selling refreshments and holding events.

Bill said: “We were the first Friends group to be formed in Blackpool, and the first one to get a Green Flag.

“Our volunteers have worked really hard improving paths, planting and fundraising for the extension of the park pavilion and for the Secret Garden.

“We have had dog shows, summer events and Easter bonnet competitions.

Covid has affected our events, but we hope to be back up and running with things again next year.”

Volunteers Vaughan Ralph, Mavis Oldroyd, John Carter and Anthony Holroyd are among those who help out daily at the Secret Garden.

Vaughan said: “When we first came the garden was overgrown with brambles, but we have got plants from various sources and are always grateful for donations.

“One of the best things is when people are walking around and make lovely comments about how nice the garden is.”

John added: “It is a chance to get out and about in the fresh air and to meet other people.”

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