Taunton Railway station are looking to regenerate a disused area of the station into a well-being and mindfulness garden based on a Japanese-style Zen Garden design. The area in question was the old bay platform for the Minehead Branch line, which over the years has been left, unused and unloved. Until now!
Who are we?
- A group of volunteers created by Paul Burch, who currently works at the station as a Service Delivery Assistant.
- Paul has been at the station for 2 years and has identified a large disused area, west of platform 5, as a potential site that could be redeveloped into a peaceful area so it can be used, not just by passengers and staff, but also by the local community.
- Network Rail (NR), who are the landlords of the station, and Great Western Railway (GWR) have given permission for the subsequent works. The area has been cleared for our sole use.
- We currently have a group of 15 volunteers who have been security vetted and have all recently been passed out by GWR and are ready to start work on the garden.
- 75% of the group are local Taunton residents, with no connection to the station. The remaining 25% are Railway Staff.
What are we looking to create?
- We have an area of approximately 450m2 that will be constructed into a Wellness Zone. This is planned to incorporate a Japanese-style Zen Garden and a large area with a water feature, planters, trees, seats, flowers, and other relaxing features.
- This garden, as stated earlier, will be for the use of passengers, staff, and the greater community.
- The hope is for users to find themselves in a quiet, secluded space where they can relax, reflect, or pass the time reading a book.
- We would also like to offer this space to charities such as The Samaritans, Taunton Street/Station pastors and other such charities who would like to use this space to help with the growing issue of mental health. This space will also be accessible for those with mobility issues, creating a peaceful garden for all.
How can you help?
We have been fortunate enough to receive a small donation from GWR and a local Community Station Partnership. However, to create our garden for all, we still require further funding. In return we can offer advertising on the station next to the Garden to any organisation that would like to “come onboard with us.”
The station is currently used by circa 1.2 million passengers a year, but this does not include the approximately 5 million customers onboard both GWR and CrossCountry trains that will pass or stop by the Garden on the eastbound side of the station, towards Bristol and London. Our social media presence also reaches those customers who may never have been to the station, giving your support to a wider reaching audience. We have also been followed by BBC Somerset and The Somerset County Gazette.
We anticipate that this will be one of the most advanced and beautiful gardens on the railway network. We would appreciate your support in making what would be a gem of tranquillity in the heart of Taunton.
It would be my pleasure to meet, discuss and of course show you around the garden area and enthuse you with our passion in relation to this project.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Paul Burch [email protected]