It’s that time of year again when the spotlight is on love and so no better time to talk about our new oral history project in collaboration with the talented folk at ARCADE “Love Stories”.

Just a walk around the memorial benches in the gardens offers a glimpse of the part South Cliff has played in so many unique individual love stories and it’s not hard to imagine people throughout the last century kindling their love on a romantic walk through the gardens.

During February everyone with a love story linked to South Cliff Gardens is invited to share it. Love stories come in many forms and whilst they are very welcome story submissions are not limited to the romantic kind.  Your story could be the love of a particular view, the memory of a pet who was by your side as you strolled the many winding pathways together. It could be the story of a relative or friend who felt a strong affection for the gardens or a story of love passed down through the generations. Your story can feel epic or inconspicuous, even a single sentence is welcome.

You can submit your story in lots of different ways or pop along to one of our friendly workshops where you will go on a story telling journey, no writing experience necessary, you can find all the details here:

February may be the month of love but it is also a milestone month for the regeneration project as we finally held the official opening of Beeforth’s Hive. It was such a joyous occasion made extra special by the premier of a newly created piece of music inspired by a wild walk through the gardens with a group of young carers and created by two incredible local artists the composer Sarah Dew and poet Charlotte Oliver. A huge thank you to everyone who came along and helped us celebrate this new community resource. If you couldn’t make it or would like to hear the music again the audio is now available on Sarah’s website:

Also premiering at the event was a collection of hand written/ drawn postcards created by visitors to the gardens and curated by Charlotte into a beautiful display.  Charlotte also used the text from the cards to write an enchanting poem “Dear South Cliff Gardens” which is a true love note to South Cliff and the people, heritage and wildlife that make it such a special place.

Dear South Cliff Gardens


Charlotte Oliver and contributors to the Dear South Cliff Gardens Postcard Project

Dear South Cliff Gardens, you are trees,

you’re conkers, grass, owls and ice-cream,

you’re calm, you’re magic, home to fairy folk,

you’re where friends meet, you are the colour green.

You are chess flowers on a shady bank,

floating clouds and, far-out, sailing boats,

a Buddhist monk in quiet contemplation,

wrens and robins in the undergrowth.

You are ruby roses, formal planting,

secret paths whose mystery leads to light,

fresh air, floral dialogue and golf,

creeping sunrise, crashing waves at night.

You are your amazing volunteers,

you’re a choice of different routes to take,

a stroll through laughter carried by the breeze

finishing in lemon-drizzle cake.

Dear South Cliff Gardens, you are seasons,

life returning after Winter, you

are bright sky glimpsed between high Autumn tree-tops,

you are awesome, glorious summer views.

Loved for all the colours in your gardens

whilst Mercury impassively looks on,

you are wildlife eating out of hands,

you’re a thousand birds in sunrise song.

You are boys with sticks for fishing rods,

you are children playing in the leaves,

peace and quiet, natural and clean,

you are rippling water, swaying seas.

Shelters in you whisper of the past,

you have secrets that few people know –

squirrels softer than a million cushions,

a special bank where wild orchids grow.

Dear South Cliff Gardens, thanks for memories;

parents meeting 70 years ago,

grandma showing flowers to her grandchild,

a 1950s mum who struck a pose.

Thank you, South Cliff Gardens, for your comfort;

soothing shade, delightful daydreams, peace,

pathways that lead down to sheltered silence,

to that space where quiet solace breathes.

Thank you, South Cliff Gardens, for the time

for families, when precious seeds are sown –

little ones grow up but don’t forget

and then return with children of their own.

Thank you, South Cliff Gardens, for your walks,

meanders, ambles, promenades and jogs

in sunshine, lockdown, Spring and sometimes rain

with partners, pals, with dearests and with dogs.

Such gratitude that future generations

will enjoy you, better now than new.

Our postcard’s full, so, dear South Cliff Gardens,

we sign-off, sending all our love to you!

Sarah Dew – Composer and Charlotte Oliver – Poet

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