A sensory garden aimed at raising awareness of sight loss has won a gold medal for feature gardens at this year’s Devon County Show.

The garden was submitted by Kennford-based charity Devon In Sight to highlight the Show’s theme of inclusivity and accessibility. Devon In Sight offers a range of services including advice and help towards independent living to support anyone affected by sight loss in Devon.

Designed by the charity’s chief executive Grahame Flynn, the garden is aimed at highlighting that people with sight loss can still experience the joys of life by making the most of their other four senses as well as any residual sight they may have.

Devon County Show. Wurzel at the Devon in Sight sensory garden
Worzel at the Devon in Sight sensory garden (Steve Pope/MDA)

‘The garden has been planted to stimulate all the senses,’ says Grahame. It includes a soundtrack of country sounds including birdsong, church bells and even a Spitfire aeroplane. In a garden shed, visitors are encouraged to rub the leaves of plants such as geraniums to experience a variety of sensations and smells. There are also jars on shelves in the shed which visitors are encouraged to open and smell a variety of scents.

A water feature provides additional sound and sensation along with brightly coloured flowers.

Visitors can try on different glasses that show how the world looks to people with various sight loss conditions. And benches are provided where visitors can sit and chat to sight loss ambassadors to find out more about what life is like when vision is restricted.

Another bench features a life size model of Worzel Gummidge which was created using a cast Grahame owns that is from the actual 1970s Worzel Gummidge TV series.  

Devon County Show. Wurzel Gummidge arrives at the Devon Sight sensory garden with Grahame Flynn and Stuart Barker
Worzel Gummidge arrives at the Devon in Sight sensory garden with a little help from Grahame Flynn and Stuart Barker (Steve Pope/MDA)

It has taken Grahame four months of working in the evenings to create the garden, which has been made possible thanks to the support of: St Bridget Nurseries, who provided the flowers; Shields Buildings, who built the shed Grahame designed; Iron in the Blood, who created the entrance archway; In Focus, who provided the lighting; Stalite Signs, who provided signage around the garden; and Devon In Sight Trustee Marilyn Minter-Newson who provided floristry.

Devon In Sight will celebrate its centenary next year.