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Time to take a seat in Margate’s newly restored sunken garden

Southern Water has teamed up with a local community group in Margate to help turn a once loved space into a beautifully restored sunken garden.

Southern Water has teamed up with a local community group in Margate to help turn a once loved space into a beautifully restored sunken garden for the whole neighbourhood to enjoy.

The sunken garden was originally created in the 1930s, following excavation of materials to build the railway bridge in Westbrook.

For many years, the garden - with its sweeping ramparts, limestone rock walls, grass pools and lush bedding displays - was a popular attraction for local visitors and holidaymakers.

However, it fell into disrepair during the 1980s, due to a lack of resources, becoming a hub of anti-social behaviour and littering.

In 2018, volunteer, coastal warden and professional horticulturalist Peter Hasted founded the Sunken Garden Society. With support from Thanet District Council and Sunken Garden Society volunteers, the garden is being transformed back to its former glory.

One of the top priorities for the society is to raise money to fill all the empty seating areas in the garden with new benches, creating a safe and tranquil place for people to sit.

Southern Water donated a bench to the Sunken Garden Society, to help the community enjoy the space while improving the health and wellbeing of all the visitors.

Southern Water's Community Impact Officer Daniel Rodrigues, who enjoyed a guided tour, said:

“I was so pleased to be able to donate the bench to the Sunken Garden Society on behalf of Southern Water and to see first-hand the amount of effort the local volunteers have put in make this place so special.

"It’s a wonderful garden, and it didn't take long for me to feel extremely relaxed and at one with nature.”

The volunteers meet regularly to maintain the beds and shrubs, along with planting, weeding and general upkeep of the garden.

Committee member Beverley Aitken added:

“We aim to be sustainable, providing bio-diversity and an environmental approach to our work.”

The garden has wide variety of wildlife including many species of bees, and the volunteers are learning to plant more drought resistant plants and understanding more about how to garden in an area with harsh winds and hot summers.

The society has further ambitions to fund a new notice board, after the original was damaged, and to fix the pathways.

The garden is already used by many members of the community including dog walkers, families and those who just want to sit quietly in the sunshine, away from the wind. It is also providing local groups such as yoga enthusiasts with a peaceful area to spend time in.

To find out more about the Sunken Garden Society, visit their online page.