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Children's Play Area

It seemed as if the whole of the village of Stoke Gabriel turned out on Saturday 30th October to see the opening of the new orchard play area. The works done on the play area and in the orchard have been made possible thanks to a grant of £49,999 from Community Spaces, as well as other funding from SHDC amongst others, and with the kind permission of Stoke Gabriel Parish Council, who own the land.

The new play area was opened by village elder, Les Frost aged 94. Les has lived in Stoke Gabriel all his life, and for 60 or so years living opposite the orchard. Les, who was in the RAF during the Second World War, and who over the years worked for Agatha Christie and fished for Salmon on the Dart, was the perfect choice to be ‘captain’ of the new play ship that is the central focus of the children’s play park.

The children of the village had been asked to suggest names for the play ship, and the Parish Council have chosen the name The Glory, proposed by sisters Chloe and Jasmine Huxter. The girls suggested the name as they have a friend in the village who as a child played on the wreck of The Glory, a Brixham sailing trawler, that can still be seen today lying in the creek at Stoke Gabriel.   

The ‘Apple Core’ sculpture (see picture), by local artist Isabel Coulton, proved to be the star of the day, praised by children and adults alike. Isabel chanced upon the enormous piece of wood needed for the core in a farmyard near to Stoke Gabriel, just as she thought she would be unable to source something suitable. 

Guests enjoyed apple cakes and other savoury treats made by parents from the school and pre-school along with cider and apple juice from local producers Hunt’s Cider, and The Real Drink Company.

Rebecca Gillmore, a spokesperson for Stoke Gabriel Pre-school, who applied for the grant said:

‘We are so delighted to see today arrive. It’s been a long process, but one that has been well worth the effort. The whole community has been engaged with the project; the children and parents have been involved in the design, some older members of our community helped make the benches that will be positioned in the play area; and a local farmer was called in at the last minute to help move a heavy object with his tractor. My thanks go to Caroline at Eden Design, who has created a wonderful natural play area that sits comfortably within the beautiful orchard setting and that will allow children free rein for imaginative and creative play. Thanks also to South Hams District Council who have helped guide and support the project, and of course thanks to Stoke Gabriel Parish Council, who own the orchard and who have supported us throughout. We now have something of which the whole village can feel very proud and which will give pleasure to many for years to come’.

If you are interested in a place for your child at Stoke Gabriel Pre-school, please contact Carine Selva, 01803 782155.

‘The Stoke Gabriel Orchard Enhancement Project has been funded through the Community Spaces programme. The Community Spaces grants programme is being managed by Groundwork UK as an Award Partner to the Big Lottery Fund. Community Spaces is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces initiative.’

For further information please contact:

Rebecca Gillmore 

Stoke Gabriel Pre-school

01803 782340