Celebrating the Park's importance to our CommunityMarple School Gardens Project

Two local Primary Schools, All Saints' Marple and St. Mary's in Marple Bridge, have designed and built a school garden in Marple Memorial Park as part of the commemorations of the 100th Anniversary of the park being dedicated to the local community.

Marple School Gardens

This exciting new project, funded by a “Magic Little Grant” from Localgiving and Postcode Neighbourhood Trust and an Environmental Challenge Award from Stockport Hydro, presents schools and pupils with an opportunity to gain invaluable, hands-on experience in the horticultural and gardening world. It's intended that the project will make a difference in Marple, bringing the community together after the devastating impact of the COVID pandemic and create a legacy for future projects involving more local schools.

The mental health and well-being benefits of connecting with nature are well known

The project will encourage children to spend time outside away from screens and learn how to create gardens that are environmentally friendly and beneficial to native wildlife. It is hoped that the gardens will also encourage those experiencing social isolation and loneliness to visit the gardens and spend more time in the local community.

The theme for the project will be “The Park's importance to our Community over the last 100 Years". It is hoped that the designs will encapsulate what the park means to our local community, not only in the past but in the present and the future too.

The gardens will be displayed in the park between the months of June, July and August 2022 and will be dismantled and removed during the early part of September 2022.

The location near to the play areas and the library chosen for the gardens will enable this project to link in with other projects and events planned for the Park's 100th anniversary.

St Mary’s Primary CVA, Marple Bridge – Memorial Park Garden

The final design for the St Mary’s Garden was brought together from elements of all the amazing ideas submitted to our design competition. This pulled out features of what the park means to the community and essential features to encourage wildlife into the garden.

St Mary's School Garden

Our Garden is divided into four sections, each denoting what our favourite things are to do in the Memorial Park. These are Play, Books, Nature and Relax.

The Play Garden

Brightly coloured, exuberant flowers are planted to echo the joy of children at play and were a popular design theme of competition entries. Key flowers are rudbekia, tithonia, sunflowers, cosmos, lobelia and zinnias. A large ligularia and heliopsis were propagated from existing school plants. The garden features a bug hotel reflecting the play theme.

The Books Garden

As a tribute to the importance of the Library in our community park, a bed is dedicated to books. Flowers in clashing colours and forms are arranged in straight lines to mimic a bookshelf. Featured plants are carnations, geraniums, achillea, zinnia, lobelia. A bird table carries on the book theme and is decorated with the original booklet opening the park in July 1922 and the Memorial Park Cenotaph engravings.

The Nature Garden

A loose, wildflower planting scheme was a popular choice of our young designers. This was achieved using verbena bonearis, sunflowers, cornflowers, echium, cosmos, calendula and grasses. A hedgehog house constructed from willow branches collected from school is also featured.

The Relax Garden

The importance of water for wildlife was a key element for all our designers. Incorporating this with the motif of the Marple Viaduct and the canal, the feature forms the centrepiece of this garden. Planting themes of green and white to reflect calm colours and the style of vegetation found along the canal banks. Featured plants include orlaya grandiflora, gaura, cosmos, bacopa, gysophilia, hostas, ferns, strawberries, and alyssum.

The pathway features the symbol of the poppy synonymous with the Memorial Park and the sillouhette of the soldier used in the park logo also forms the backdrop. Bee baths have been decorated and placed around the garden to provide essential water for our native wildlife. Terracota pots bearing the name of each garden theme are planted up to echo the content of the gardens.

The majority of the plants were grown from seed or plugs by the children or propagated from existing school plants. We have used only peat free compost for growing. Recycled materials were used to construct the bird table, bug hotel and hedgehog house. The garden will be replanted to be enjoyed at our school.

All Saints' Church of England Primary School – Memorial Park Garden

Year 5 have created a garden that celebrates everything about Marple and of course the wonderful Memorial Park! The backboard was designed to try and encompass all the things Marple has to offer, such as the skatepark and its history of Samuel Oldknow. The children then designed the garden to be an insect's paradise - another community space! One side of the garden is colourful and vibrant to attract the bees. The other side is a sensory garden, full of grasses and wildflowers to attract all types of weird and wonderful creatures! Year 5 had absolutely the best time creating this garden space, and are so proud of their huge achievements.

All Saints' School Garden

Project News

Tuesday 12 July 2022: School Build Day 2

Another day's hard graft from All Saints' and St. Mary's gardening teams saw the Marple School Gardens Project completed by mid-afternoon. A very well done to everyone involved in both gardens, they really are fabulous and a great credit to both schools. We look forward to showing them off with you at the Treasure Hunt on Saturday 23 July.

It was great to have Eve from Rewilding Stockport along today too and she will be with us again at the Treasure Hunt.

Monday 11 July 2022: School Build Day 1

An early start for Friends of the Park getting everything ready followed by a great day's effort by pupils and teachers of All Saints' and St. Mary's Primary Schools. They all worked really hard in the hot sunshine and the beds are looking amazing already. We can't wait to finish them off tomorrow!

Sunday 10 July 2022: Everything ready for planting!

So tempting to show you photos of the fantastic backing boards created by All Saints' and St. Mary's for the Marple School Gardens Project but you're going to have to wait until tomorrow!

The raised beds are going to be planted up by pupils and teachers 10am to 2pm on Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th July when all will be revealed!

Raised beds ready

30 June 2022: Infrastructure Build Day

The Marple School Gardens Project finally got underway publicly today with the building of the raised beds in the park ready for All Saints' and St. Mary's Schools to plant them up during week commencing 11 July. Today it was assembling the sleepers and filling with soil carried out by Friends of the Park. A big thank you to Andy Manc James, our local Dyno-Rod man who helped deliver the sleepers to the park, and to Offerton Sand and Gravel's driver Neil, who made a precision early morning delivery of topsoil for us to avoid problems in the car park.

30 May 2022: Cheshire Wildlife Trust is supporting Marple School Gardens Project!

Stockport Rewilding Officer Eve Taylor from the Cheshire Wildlife TrustWe are delighted that Stockport Rewilding Officer Eve Taylor from the Cheshire Wildlife Trust will be supporting our Marple School Gardens Project. Eve has already visited St. Mary's School and has a date arranged to visit All Saints. She will also be attending the School Build Days, when children from both schools will be planting their beds, and coming to the Family Treasure Hunt in Memorial Park on Saturday 23 July to engage with the local community on Rewilding Stockport. Eve has provided the following introduction:


My name is Eve and I work for Cheshire Wildlife Trust on a National Heritage Lottery Funded project called Rewilding Stockport. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on creating a community nature reserve within Stockport. Rewilding Stockport is a two-year project and within these 2 years we are looking to create 1,000 spaces for nature across Stockport, an ambitious target which we can’t achieve alone!

Rewilding Stockport is about empowering residents to turn Stockport into a community-based nature reserve: a mosaic of 1,000 new spaces for wildlife and people, embedding nature into the fabric of our town. We want communities to use, enjoy, improve, and reclaim local green spaces, so all can make the most of these safe and inclusive wild places close to where they live, work and play. To find out more about Rewilding Stockport, please visit our webpage - Rewilding Stockport | Cheshire Wildlife Trust.

My job role in this project is Stockport Rewilding Officer, and I will be working closely with the people of Stockport in creating pollinator patches, improving Wasted Spaces, and spear-heading our Grow Don't Mow campaign in Stockport. I have a diploma in Animal Management and a first-class degree in Wildlife Conservation and have volunteered my time with several wildlife charities across Europe. This has led me on to intern with Lancashire Wildlife Trust on their peatland restoration work; my first experience working with the Wildlife Trusts! This is when I realised it was the organisation for me. I strongly believe in their strategy that links nature recovery and connection to human well-being. Having grown up in Stockport, I feel very passionate about the area and want to do as much as I can to create a Wilder Stockport!

18 March 2022: This project has been made possible by the following grant funding:

Project infrastructure is funded by a £500 “Magic Little Grant” from Localgiving and Postcode Neighbourhood Trust, a grant-giving charity funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Project Infrastructure includes sleepers and fixings, plywood backing boards and timber framing, plus membrane and topsoil.

The £250 planting and art materials budget for each participating school is funded by a £500 grant from Stockport Hydro's 2022 Environmental Challenge.

Sarah Braide and Mark Whittaker receive our Stockport Hydro Award from Laurence Jackson and Ben Alexander on 18 March 2022.
Sarah Braide and Mark Whittaker receive our Stockport Hydro Award from Laurence Jackson and Ben Alexander on 18 March 2022.

School Gardens Project Grant Funders