A PUBLIC consultation on the future of a village green space has discovered most people would like to see the area as a community hub to meet and socialise.

A open spaces is underway to encourage a semi-rewilding of the land on Manor Park in Dousland based on a community vision. The area, mainly grassland, was bought by former local resident the late Helen Rowett, a lecturer and author in the field of plant and animal science, to stop it being built on.

Now fellow villager Carolyn Tiley is leading on developing the plan to encourage wildlife and biodiversity which will be presented to Burrator Parish Council which owns the land, to be called the Helen Rowett Memorial Park.

Carolyn held pop-in consultation sessions at the Burrator Inn to ask villagers what they would like the future of the park to be.

She said: ”Twenty five people attended the pop-ins which we were pretty happy with, given the weather and general apathy.

“We asked people what their perceptions of the garden were at present - words like ' unwelcoming' 'boring' 'unenticing' 'unclear of purpose' came up a lot.

“When asked what they would like to see, things like clear signage, accessibility, bog garden, attractive planting, more butterflies, space for creative play, wildflower meadow area, bird boxes and picnic tables all came up several times.

“When we asked what they didn't want, the things we had already discussed came up ie. buildings, play equipment, lighting, raised beds. Interestingly the theme that really came out was not about gardening or wildlife per se, but about building a community, having somewhere to meet people and hold events - where there’s somebody to talk to during volunteer hours.

“It's almost as though the individual garden elements are not as important as the community spirit it engenders. So overall we learned a lot, and can modify some of our ideas accordingly. “

Emma Smith from Devon Wildlife Trust will write a report for the parish council and Carolyn and her team will take next steps from there. Alina Clark, Helen’s niece, and her husband Mark, said: “We are delighted to have been informed by Katharine from Burrator Parish Council about the creative plans for my aunt,  Helen Rowett’s  memorial garden, proposed by Carolyn Tiley.

“Helen lived in Manor Park, Dousland, for over 60 years and she always wanted to preserve the green space for local community use. Within the planned proposal is the intention to increase the biodiversity of the garden which would certainly have thrilled Helen, who was a lecturer and author in the field of plant and animal science. “Helen was also very active across Dartmoor in creating opportunities for people of all ages to meet and connect. Not having children of her own, she was also passionate about preserving the beautiful surroundings of the area for the next generations to enjoy.  “We would very much like to thank all those involved in ensuring Helen’s legacy is honoured and we hope the garden continues to provide a much needed sanctuary and community space.”