Heysham beauty spot blooms once again after gardening work uncovers hidden features

A Heysham woman has spent months tidying up a well-loved beauty spot, uncovering features unseen for years.

By Louise Bryning
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2022, 12:15 pm

When Jenny Howarth saw the state of Sunny Slopes where she walked her dog every day, she took it upon herself to do something about it.

Since last June, she has spent almost every day weeding and digging out the area which officially opened in 1931 and once featured a boating pool and a waterfall.

“Living nearby, I noticed so many people walking on Sunny Slopes during the pandemic and I was embarrassed to see it looking such a mess,” said Jenny.

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A postcard of the promenade and Sunny Slopes at Heysham, unknown date.

When she came across an elderly man who couldn’t find his way to a favourite rock where he used to sit to admire the view, Jenny cleared the path for him.

“He was so pleased that I just carried on,” Jenny said.

By February she was joined by two other women who she’d never met before and only knows as Sarah and Shelagh.

A couple of other volunteers, Tracy and Charlotte, help out from time to time too.

A postcard of the lake, Sunny Slopes, Heysham, unknown date.

Jenny said: “We’ve been able to do a lot more than I could have done on my own but more help would be nice, especially from some men.”

Over the past few months, the women have been weeding and digging, revealing rocks, alcoves and path edges which had been overgrown with grass.

They’ve also planted some wildflower seeds and plugs to enhance the area.

“I like gardening and you couldn’t get a better place to do it, as the view is spectacular,” said Jenny.

A black and white photo of the lake at Sunny Slopes, Heysham, unknown date.

“We didn’t realise what an impact it would have on people who have happy memories of Sunny Slopes from years ago.”

Many passersby express thanks for all their hard work and they’ve even received donations.

Heysham North city councillor, Roger Cleet, said: “An awful lot of people who live locally are amazed by Jenny’s work. She’s been unveiling areas, not quite on the scale of Pompeii, but which have been covered up with grass for many years.”

Sunny Slopes is owned by Lancaster City Council and is maintained in line with their approved grassland management strategy.

From left: Jenny Howarth at Sunny Slopes, Heysham with her helpers Shelagh and Sarah.

A spokesman for Lancaster City Council said: “This strategy aims to improve the way we manage public spaces and was developed based on advice from experts in the field including Natural England, landscape architects and ecologists.”

Sunny Slopes is also the first section of land to benefit from a new collaboration between the council and the Eden Project’s National Wildflower Centre and, at the weekend, the council came together with members of the public, community groups and volunteers to sow wildlife seeds at the side.

“When they come into bloom these wildflowers will blanket the land with colour, creating new habitats to support pollinators and increase biodiversity,” the spokesman added.

“The city council always welcomes the involvement of volunteers and successfully works with a number of Friends groups across its parks and open spaces to make improvements for the benefit of the community.”

A black and white photo of Sunny Slopes, Heysham, unknown date.