Friends of Stoodley Knowle

Join us and make a difference

“Stoodley Knowle” was originally a parcel of land belonging to the diocese of Exeter. In the 1860’s a patchwork of brick drainage culverts was built under the marshland adjacent to the hillside to assist with drainage. This meadow subsequently became pasture to fatten cattle for the butcher in Wellswood. In the 1920’s a catholic school was created on the Knowle itself and post war the meadow was seeded with hard wearing rye grass and clover to enable the installation of two football pitches and a cricket wicket for public use.


In 2012 one of the culverts collapsed whilst being mown by contractors, and the site was left unattended throughout 2013. “Friends of Stoodley Knowle” was formed in June 2014 to create a managed wildflower meadow from the now redundant football pitches on the 4.6acre site.


FoSK began by clearing the area around the main entrance, which was completely overgrown. This revealed three former flowerbeds. In the autumn of 2015 FoSK began seeding the meadow with yellow rattle to break down the rye grass and in January 2016 hosted the launch by the Mayor of the “Buglife Project” to encourage wildlife corridors and wildflower propagation across the Bay; primroses and knapweed plugs were planted in the meadow.


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Since 2014 FoSK has favoured planting for pollinators with 1800 bulbs, including crocuses and wild daffodils in the meadow and snowdrops, grape hyacinths and bluebells in the beds where aconites, primroses, cyclamen and anemones are also now profuse. These beds now provide all round colour and interest. Over several seasons the meadow has been seeded with 7 kilos of mixed wildflower seed (80% perennial and 20% annual) and plugs of Tansy, Clary, Bettony and Toadflax.


In addition 15 buddleia bushes and 158 flowering and fruiting trees (Rowan, Wild Cherry, Crab Apple, Hawthorn and Silver Birch) have been added, some in association with the Woodland Trust. Bird boxes and Bug Hotels have also been installed to house the increased wild life, some with the assistance of  “FoSKIES” the quarterly club for 4 – 11yr olds formed with Ilsham Academy. 


In 2017 FoSK won the tender to convert the derelict Changing Room block into a seasonal Café, with new accessible toilets and baby changer. FoSK also sought improvements to the entrance pathway and bins and Stoodley Meadow Community Café was opened in May 2018 with assistance from the National Lottery, Clare Milne Trust, local residents and businesses.

In the five years up to July 2019, FoSK has contributed over 2000hrs to the development of the area and been judged “Outstanding” in the RHS ”It’s your Neighbourhood” Awards, part of Britain in Bloom.


Aims and Objectives

The long-term objectives of FoSK shall be to:

  1. a)     Maintain and enhance the open green space by creating a prominent natural wildflower meadow, improving biodiversity and             conserving endangered species, for the general enjoyment of local residents and visitors.
  2. b)     Promote conservation and good environmental practice in a safe and conscientious way.
  3. c)     Further enhance the area through a number of initiatives to be decided and agreed upon from time to time by members.
  4. d)     Liaise with Torbay Council, the Police and other agencies to achieve the objectives.

Short-term objectives shall be to:

  1. e)    Obtain specialist expertise with regard to planting and seasonal maintenance of the site.
  2. f)     Address pruning of trees and hedgerows and planting for bees.
  3. g)    Grow the membership, both young and old, to assist with planting, pruning and conservation.