Queen’s Park & The Secret Garden

1st August 2015

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” So said Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of children’s classic, The Secret Garden. 

Well, be that as it may we can easily say that the whole of Swindon is a garden. Or a park or green space at any rate – given that here in Swindon we are astonishingly well-blessed with leafy and open spaces. It is quite astonishing when you stop to think about it.  You can read about some of them here: https://swindonian.me/category/parks-and-open-spaces/

Queens Park sign - Queen's Park Swindon
Queens Park sign

Queen’s Park Swindon

But this post is concerned with Queen’s Park Swindon and its secret garden. Swindon’s Queen’s Park is not a place I get to much. I live one the west side of town and have the magnificent Lydiard Park not much more than a spit from my house so I go there – obvs.

Which is not to say that Queen’s Park isn’t lovely because it is. It’a a fabulous oasis in the middle of an urban conurbation. And it has some public art in too. So what’s not to like? Plus the secret garden of course. And it was the secret garden summer BBQ that took me there last night.

It’s such a delightful spot and is a great credit to all those that are involved with it. All power to their hoe!

The BBQ was organized by secret garden volunteers, among them the Incredible Edible Swindon people and councillor Paul Dixon, and was a very pleasant evening. After a few days of not great weather the sun switched itself back on and produced a fabulous evening.

If you would like to join them for gardening sessions, they are in the garden Thurs evenings 6-8pm and most Saturday mornings 10:30-12:30.

The people looking after the secret garden have a Facebook which has this to say: ‘The Secret Garden is a community garden located in the eastern part of Queen’s Park, Swindon. Formerly an unused area of the park, we have transformed it into an exciting community space. Interested in volunteering with us? We’d love to hear from you!’

Find them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/qpsecretgarden and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretgardenswindon/timeline

Below are a load of photos I took but before that some general information about the park.

Dull but factual from Wikepedia:

Queen’s Park is a public park, located near the Regent Circus area of Swindon town centre.

It is about 12 acres (49,000 m2) in size, with a lake of around 2 acres (8,100 m2), and contains a diverse range of ornamental trees and shrubs.

The park has a Garden of Remembrance, officially opened by Princess Elizabeth on 15 November 1950 and commemorates those who died in World War II.

But far more interesting is the Swindon History blogspot: 

‘It is difficult to believe that this town centre parkland oasis was once a brown field site. Queen’s Park is a twelve acre beauty spot with a Victorian industrial past, the site of builder Thomas Turner’s brick works –  examples of his artistry stand close to the Drove Road entrance. Today the former derelict claypit, once popular with zoologist Desmond Morris and his girlfriend Diana Dors, is an award winning park and garden.’  And: ‘In 2001 English Heritage awarded the garden a Grade II listing on the Register of Parks & Gardens and it is easy to see why.’

There’s lots more on that blog post and some lovely photos so do visit it here to read the rest: http://swindonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/queens-park.html  The photo of the gorilla is way better than mine for a start! On the subject of the gorilla – also from Swindon History blogspot: ‘The long time resident gorilla took up his present position in 1994. The welded steel sculpture by Tom Gleeson was purchased by the Borough following an exhibition in the Theatre Square in the mid 1980s. Today he looked particularly fetching with a flower tucked behind his ear by an admirer.’

“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.”  Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret garden.