Weymouth is lucky to have a number of green areas where the public can go and relax. Greenhill Gardens on the Esplanade is one of them. Gifted to the Council for the benefit of the inhabitants of Weymouth in 1902 and 1904, it has been said that it is the jewel in the Crown of the Borough’s Gardens attaining National Green Flag status for the past decade.
However, ten years ago a Council proposal included the building of a large Restaurant on a large part of the area. This decision upset some of the residents and this led to the formation of The Friends of Greenhill Gardens (FOGG) who had always been keen to keep the area for the purposes it was originally gifted.
Eventually the Council withdrew the building proposal, but the Friends committee members continued to ensure that the gardens remained protected in the future and to have the Gardens recognised as a recreational space.
A programme of events was developed to encourage more people to come in to the Gardens and enjoy the facilities and take advantage of the amazing views across Weymouth Bay to the Dorset hills. A series of events were planned in the first few years including A Mad Hatters Tea Party, Musical Events, Halloween Pumpkins in the Park and Christmas Sing-alongs. As the years rolled on more activities were organised the FOGG.
Any funds being collected by FOGG have been ploughed back in to the Gardens. FOGG have financed new railings and the repair of gates in the area and some planting. In 2013 a new bandstand appeared as a result of their work. It is now used throughout the summer months for Bands and Choirs to perform, attracting hundreds of people to the Gardens.
FOGG also supported a successful application for the nationally important two tier chalets to receive Listed Building status. They also paid for the planting of two large flower beds with appropriate plants to survive the salt water conditions on the promenade. These beds had not been planted for many years.
The area has been managed by the Council since they inherited the land. FOGG’s representations at Council meetings whenever the area was discussed received a good deal of attention. A new intuitive by another Group whose members rent Chalets in the area has resulted in them negotiating for a 30 year lease of part of the area and FOGG can continue to work with them for the further continuance of the Gardens as a recreational area.
Now thousands of people enjoy the Gardens each Summer Sunday afternoon listening to a variety of music. In addition FOGG has become a well respected Friends Groups with a reputation for achieving great results. More people now visit the Gardens each year than ever before. But FOGG keeps coming up with new ideas. The latest project is for an amazing Arch to be erected at the entrance to the whole area from the Esplanade. The Weymouth BID is proudly donating £500 towards the cost of the new Arch.
So what started ten years ago as a Group to stop a proposed building has developed into an Activity Plan for the Gardens to ensure that they are kept as a recreational and useable area for many generations to come. The Friends’ website gets hundreds of clicks each week as more and more people find out the benefits of the Gardens and what goes on there. FOGG thinks that this is a Ten Year Anniversary worth commemorating and to help celebrate the year the following musical events are planned in the Gardens.
Everybody is free to come and enjoy the open air performances in the Gardens. Quiz Night and Race Night are ticketed events. Contact 01305 768446 for booking and more details.
For other garden attractions you can enjoy in Weymouth try Nothe Fort and Radipole Park Gardens.
Greenhill Gardens Events for 2017
All events are in Greenhill Gardens and start at 2pm apart from the Quiz Night (Brewers Fayre Lodmoor Weymouth) and Civic Day (former Tourist Information Centre The Esplanade Weymouth).
JUNE 17 – Civic Day Rita Ashworth in the Gardens talks about singer Marie Lloyd
JUNE 18 – The Weymouth Ukulelean (Weldmar Hospice Event)
JUNE 19 – Civic Week — FOGG at former Tourist Information Office on Esplanade Weymouth
JULY 2 – The Quangle Wangle Choir
JULY 16 – The Silhouettes (Weldmar Hospice Event)
JULY 23 – Singer Tony Lowe (in aid of Terras Youth Team)
JULY 30 – Performer Tony Lowe (Weldmar Hospice Event)
AUGUST 13 – FOGG Sizzling Summer Fayre with Darron Garnett and Twirl Academy
AUGUST 20 – The Silhouettes
AUGUST 27 – Singer Tony Lowe
AUGUST 28 – Local band Replay
SEPTEMBER 3 – The Weymouth Ukuleleans
OCTOBER 13 – Race Night at Pilgrim House , Hope Square, Weymouth
NOVEMBER 17 – Quiz Night at Brewers Fayre Lodmoor, Weymouth