WESC Country Works at West Hill
Tucked away just off the A30 – just 15 minutes from Exeter – is a horticulture/forest project called WESC Country Works.
We offer outdoor learning experiences to anyone regardless of their disability, including the children and young people from across the WESC Foundation community.
The story of West Hill
WESC Foundation took over the management of the site in January 2017. We inherited a ten acre plot that was totally overgrown, but with the potential to create an inclusive sensory learning environment in the Devon countryside. Our aim was to help support young people and adults who are disadvantaged through disabilities by providing fun activities, new experiences and training.
Thanks to the support of our staff and volunteers, Otter Garden Centres, and countless others, our successes to date have included:
- Creating a network of wheelchair-accessible pathways and bridges across a previously inaccessible site.
- Establishing a forest school for WESC Foundation students and other young people.
- Planting 300 saplings donated by The Woodland Trust
- Growing bedding plants, herbs and vegetables for sale in our Charity Shops and to local businesses.
- Developing individual zones including a small orchard, wild flower meadow, sensory garden and vegetable gardens.
- Managing woodland and laying new hedges.
Patrick Phillips (Horticulture Project Manager, West Hill) joined us in March 2017 and oversees the development of the site. He has a BSc in Horitculture with Plantsmanship and has previously worked at Forbury House and Cothay Manor. Patrick is assisted by a loyal and enthusiastic team of volunteers who get involved with anything from watering and weeding to ‘jungle-busting’ and bridge building.
Along the way we have been helped by volunteering groups from Devon County Council, Exeter College “Positive Pathways”, The Prince’s Trust, The Department of Work and Pensions, Michelmores Solicitors, and many more.