Last year Winslow Town Council acquired a five acre site in the heart of the town, known locally as The Paddock, using funds secured from the New Homes Bonus scheme. The land previously belonged to the Tomkins family who were long term residents of Winslow Hall which is immediately to the south of the site. Known locally as The Paddock, in recent times it has only been open to the public once a year for the Lions Club Annual Firework Display.   A collection of specimen trees grow within the site and a recent survey described them as an arboretum of regional status. Among the many superb trees is a Laurel Leafed Oak which is the only one known to be in Buckinghamshire.

Sadly the woodland has not been managed too well in recent years and several trees became dangerous or were affecting the growth of more important species. These trees have now been removed to ensure public safety and drainage installed to resolve a waterlogging problem in one area. This has been the first stage in developing the site as a town park which all of the community can enjoy. New pedestrian access gates have been installed in Elmfield Gate and from Greyhound Lane Car Park and these will be opened to the public from around noon on Friday 19h August. The double gates behind the Public Hall will only be opened for maintenance and emergency vehicles.

Commenting on the opening Cllr Roy van de Poll said, ‘There is still much work to be done to develop the park but we wanted families to be able to have access before the end of the school holidays.  If the weather holds it will be a great place for picnics‘.  In the coming weeks and months information boards will be installed next to the most important trees.  Footpaths, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs, will also be developed. Some new planting will add colour and extra ground cover in the wooded areas.

Cllr van de Poll added, ‘Later this year an official opening ceremony will see the site re-named as Tomkins Park and Arboretum in memory of Sir Edward and Lady Tomkins who were such great supporters of community activities in Winslow and did much to develop the arboretum’.

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