On April 14th we had a walk through Glen Goyle to start to document what was there at that time of year. We were also looking at what needed to be done.
Starting at the south entrance on Manor Road we walked to the north entrance on Glen Road and then returned, viewing the southern stretch of Glen Goyle ( on the opposite side of Manor Road) which belongs to The Belmont Hotel from the outside before we parted.
There is some hard landscaping which needs to be tackled and some of this can only be done by East Devon District Council who currently have responsibility for the area, other parts could be done by us through fundraising efforts.
The tarmacked paths are breaking up, creating a danger underfoot, this is an Devon County Council responsibility. There is a section of fence missing which might be East Devon District Council responsibility or it might be something we could do.
It seems that much of the original seating has now been lost, there are two walled indentations where there were obviously benches at one stage and many other areas where it looks as though seats could be accommodated. Replacing lost seating and adding more is definitely something which would be of benefit to those who use the area, and it is something we could do if we managed to raise funds.
As far as plantings are concerned it was obvious that many plants have outgrown their space or self seeded, which is crowding out more desirable plants. Ivy, brambles and Three-cornered Leek are major concerns, while self seeded Sycamore, Bay and Laurel also need dealing with. There are also many stands of what appears to be the same variety of Bamboo, it would be beneficial to reduce this number. If we wanted the same amount of Bamboo we could replace the clumps with lesser known and more ornamental versions.
Ivy is carpeting the western side of the stream as ground cover and Bamboo and leaf litter carpets the east side between the stream and the path, at present there is little sign that anything but bulbs can cope with this ground cover; but this may change as the year progresses.
There are some unusual ornamental trees and shrubs doing well although there are others which are suffering from loss of light, either becoming spindly or in the case of one set of Tree Ferns in deep shade appearing to be totally dormant. Thinning of the overgrown shrubs and removal of self seeded specimens should be sufficient to reintroduce light in most cases but there may need to be some thinning of the tree canopy. This would require permission from EDDC as would most work.
It is not intended that we remove all ‘weeds’ to create a manicured garden as that effect is available at other green spaces around town, such as Connaught Garden and Blackmore Garden. We want to create a place full of natural life, and so while elements such as brambles and nettles need to be restricted to appropriate areas we want to retain them for the benefit of wildlife. On the other hand Three-cornered Leek is an invasive species with little benefit to wildlife and it would be nice to be able to eradicate it.
The other element of interest is the stream. The bed has at one time been carefully constructed with stones but in some places concrete has been added later. It would be more pleasing if the concrete could be replaced at some stage. The hand-crafted look is in keeping with its Victorian heritage.
The stream needs to be checked for areas which might have silted up as the frequent small waterfalls indicated that this was once a series of pools adding interest and sound to a pleasant walk.