The Bench in the WAG

Bench in the Cold Ash Wildlife Allotment Garden

We have received quite a bit of interest in the new sculpted bench in the Wildlife Allotment Gardens (WAG). So, to answer the many questions we’ve received, here’s the rundown on it.

The bench forms the centrepiece of the renovation work that has been going on in the WAG over the last 12 months, which will culminate in the opening of the paddock on Collaroy Road, in a couple of months. 

The bench, along with most of the other work being undertaken in the WAG, has been funded via two Member’s Bids; these are bids made by Cold Ash Parish Council, whereby we secure funding from West Berkshire Council, which we then match. 

The bench was commissioned by Cold Ash Parish Council from 3DWood and was expertly designed and sculpted by Nick Speakman. It was carved from the Oak tree that had to be cut down, just over a year ago. Some of you may already be aware of Nick’s work, as he also sculpted the ‘Big Apple Bench’ that is also in the WAG.

We’ve shared information on the other work that has been going on in the WAG with you previously, but in summary:

  • we’ve cleared the debris from the 3 trees that were taken down in late 2019
  • we’ve cleared brambles, that had started to become invasive – to make space for the bench and the tree planting
  • we’re part-way through clearing the paddock between the Goat and Sheep paddocks – hopefully we’ll have some sheep back soon
  • we’ve planted a number of fruit trees in the new paddock
  • led by the Greening Group, we’ve planted over 100 saplings – this happened on the Community Tree Planting Day, in December, when c50 parishioners joined in
  • we’ve cleared invasive Himalayan Balsam from around the water course
  • we’ve moved some of the Snowdrops from the path up to the new bench, to avoid them being walked on next year

We’re currently finishing off the work, which will include:

  • finishing the clearing work in the new paddock
  • completing the installation of the new gate on Colloroy Road – this will be a kissing-gate providing disabled access
  • installing 3 x 6-seater picnic benches in the new paddock
  • fixing the bridge from the paddock into the centre of the WAG
  • replacing the worn-out picnic benches at the Ridge end of the site
  • putting up new signage 

And, you may be pleased to know, we’ll be installing two more of Nick’s sculptures at the Colloroy Road entrance.

We haven’t got around to planning the formal opening of the new paddock as our plans have been massively impacted by COVID. However, we will hopefully be able to formally open the re-vamped WAG in late spring. In the meantime, please feel free to use the bench.

If you would like to find out more about Nick Speakman’s work or 3DWood, his website can be found at: . 

Should you require any further information on the WAG or wish to join the WAG Volunteer Group, please contact the Parish Office.

Cllr Ivor McArdle
Cold Ash Parish Councillor
March 2021