I am writing this prior to this year’s Open Day and will give some (hopefully) positive feedback to everyone in the July issue. Meanwhile, here is some background to the event. 

Mary Thorley lived at The Granary in the High Street and was a regular member of the congregation until she passed away in 2004. She is buried with her mother in the front churchyard area on the Rectory side. In addition to the property at The Granary, she owned two adjoining fields, including the one immediately behind the established rear churchyard. 

She was anxious to ensure that the environment of St Mary’s retained its rural aspect after her death, particularly as in later years developers were regularly knocking on her door with lucrative offers.

She left the lower field to the Parish, and the upper field to the Countryside Trust, thereby ensuring that they would remain unspoilt and free to all to enjoy. The lower field was consecrated in 2004, and a line of recent graves can be seen along the ridge that divides the two areas.

In 2015-16 there was a substantial voluntary effort to clear large parts of the area which had become overgrown with bracken, and where fly tipping had taken place. 

Providence then took a hand, in the form of the Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ Scheme which funds improvements to green spaces in England and Wales. We developed a project bid and in November 2016 learned that our project was one of 50 in south-east England (out of 3000 applications) to receive a grant. 

The field has commanding views across the Uck valley, and is a place of beauty and calm. Our plan included a seating area and table unit made from reclaimed wood, with a large planter in three parts featuring woodland shrubs and flowers.

The grant also enabled us to tackle long overdue repairs, replace the boundary fencing, and undertake tree surgery. There was also work done to identify and clear a flat, safe pathway along the Rectory boundary up to the garden and seating area. 

The Community Garden Project was blessed and officially opened the Rt Rev Edward Dowler, Archdeacon of Hastings in May 2018.  It was resolved to hold an Open Day & Craft Fair in May of each year, to mark the anniversary of the completion of the project. 

We hope that our work does justice to the wishes of our benefactor, past and present worshippers, and to the wider community of Buxted.  

Keith Revoir

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