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Willow Wood Hospice's sensory garden, ashton-under-lyne

A new sensory garden was created in 2013/14 to maximise the potential of the main garden and provide patients, their families, friends and staff with an outside space that can be used throughout the year and accessed by all, whether on foot, in a wheelchair or in a bed. The design replaced a large wildlife pond with a tarmac and decked path circling it. Each patient bedroom was provided with its own screened terrace garden looking onto a new, smaller wildlife pond and mixed borders. A kitchen garden was built to supplement produce for the kitchen and provide garden therapy potential (and has been a popular stopping point for visitors and patients). Open, communal areas were created for groups to use.

Short walks and loose garden rooms were designed to break up the space and provide different environments to explore including a woodland walk beyond the kitchen garden. The planting is rich in sensory stimulus and interest throughout the year, reflecting the seasons’ unique qualities; as full of detail on short winter days as they are at the height of summer.

Since the gardens opened in March 2014, we have been in charge of overseeing the maintenance of the new borders and medium term development of the grounds throughout the hospice, working alongside and training the existing and growing team of garden volunteers.

Willow Wood

Willow Wood

Willow Wood

Willow Wood

Willow Wood

Willow Wood

Willow Wood

Willow Wood

Willow Wood