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WW1 Armistice Garden to be opened

Earlier this year Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer won a competition to design a new garden that will support the commemoration of the end of the First World War at the Thiepval Memorial in France. The memorial is the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth. The garden itself is not a memorial but a place of reflection and was commissioned to acknowledge the role of Welsh soldiers in the Battle of the Somme in particular.

It is inspired by the ribbon of history that connects both the past and the future. It will prompt a gentle, thoughtful reflection on those who fought in the Battles of the Somme and how we can prevent this happening again. The main structure is a single 100 foot long seat that sits gently upon the ground within a quiet part of the woodland at Thiepval. The seat is artisan made and wraps around and engages with existing trees. The seat will include Welsh oak and Portland stone to resonate with the existing memorial. It will sit lightly on the ground without the need to install into the ground. New planting will include the seeding of species primroses, recently voted as Wales’ favourite flower, across the woodland.

The seat was substantially made off site by our partners at Oxford Planters & Joinery and for the installation we had a team that included a Commonwealth apprentice gardener. The seeding of primroses will be carried out shortly by service veterans in collaboration with a new charity Veterans Growth that is aiming to support veterans with PTSD through horticulture.

We have developed our idea based on our own personal experiences working with veterans, community groups and younger generations in delivering sensitive stories through gardens and landscapes. Our aim for Thiepval is to deliver a garden that will be a place to reflect on our shared history and refocus on what we can do as individuals and communities towards a future peace.