Splash Point Pleasure Gardens
This community project is to transform an unloved, dis-used cliff top field into beautiful public space for everyone to enjoy, made possible by Big Lottery's Awards For All.
Architect Piers Taylor says: “In the first of what will be a remarkable series of projects in Watchet initiated by the Onion Collective, the Pleasure Build Up event has harnessed the potent energy of an extraordinary local community who came together over three days to reclaim an area of wasteland and transform it into something spectacular. Something incredible has come from the shared endeavour of a group of people - a beautifully planted piece of public landscape and a structure that was designed and constructed by local volunteers using technologies and techniques that reflect Watchet. This project has shown what is possible in a single weekend - and sets out an exciting vision for change here in Watchet.”
The structure was made from a series of dry laminated green timber hoops that were bound together with jute rope and no mechanical fixings and few tools. These were bent into shape which effectively tightened the bindings, which will grow even stronger as the rope shrinks when wet and the timber seasons. Rope was created using an on-site rope making machine, giving a nod to Watchet’s maritime history. Many of the volunteers were ‘unskilled’ in the formal sense and the project is testament to the power of a community coming together to do something for itself.
The area is open for public enjoyment and use, for picnics, events and music, for cloud gazing, stargazing and watching the sunset. Further plans to landscape the remaining space are subject to winning further funding, however all ideas as to how to make best use of the remaining space are gratefully received.
The ground modelling and reclining stage was designed by landscape architects LT Studio. Robust plants for the surrounding landscape have been selected that will be suitable for the adverse weather conditions at Splash Point and include Carex Comans and Briza Media grasses.