by Katie Isham.
Slap-bang in the middle of Sholing, there sits a park. At first glance, it’s a basic public amenity. A big wonky trapezium of grass where people can walk their dogs, footballers have somewhere to play on Sunday mornings and youths have a location to loiter aimlessly during the long summer sunsets of their formative years. The mighty Veracity Ground.
This park has sprung into life over the past year. Literally. The banks of earth that were built up around the perimeter of the park had been quietly incubating leafy treasure over the winter. Gradually greenery grew. Sprouts and then stems. Foliage and then flowers. And now there are congregations of jubilant flowers exploding on all sides of our Veracity.
You can see the blooms as you approach. The seeds had been sown the previous year and in last year’s lockdown, you could see the beginnings of the plan. But it’s this year, from the springtime sunshine, where the wildflowers have reached their peak. They have grown into a glorious canvas of colourful pollination.
An otherwise ordinary trip to the local park will now bring you more joy than you ever imagined. It’s impossible to pass the wall of flowers without smiling. Don’t we all need something to brighten our day as we go about our daily endeavours?
Walking your dog? Stop and smell the flowers as you stoop to pick up the source of an altogether less enjoyable odour.
Using the outdoor fitness equipment? You’ll be hard pushed to find a better view in another gym.
Taking the small people to the swings? A walk past the wildflower meadow will give them more questions to expand their growing imaginations.
I’m not going to tell you how to walk around the Veracity. It’s an enclosed space (now it has the blossoming border) with a whole host of activities if that’s your thing. Bring a football for a kickaround (mind the poppies) or use the skate ramps with whatever wheels suit you. I’ve passed whole groups of people setting up camp with deckchairs and cool boxes before; it’s comforting to see the outdoor spaces being used so enthusiastically.
But wherever you start on your adventure, you could do a whole lot worse than walking the boundary. See how the thistles reach towards the sky, marvel at the vibrant colours of the grasses and be thankful for the buzzing visitors you’ll share your walk with. The aim of sowing these seeds was to encourage more bees and other pollinators. Planting wildflowers may seem to be the cause celebre, but it’s definitely a worthy enterprise. And it’s also a tangible one. You can experience the effects growing and buzzing in front of your eyes and ears (and nostrils). It must be having a positive effect on the local environment which can only be a good thing.
I’ve been a visitor to the Veracity for most of my life, but this is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen it. True, beauty is not everything. But this simple park is much more than just an aesthetic joy. Veracity in fact means the quality of being pure and the act of telling the truth. I’ve never really thought too much about the name of it. Until now.
There seems to be a providence to its name. The Veracity may only be a park, but it’s true to its roots. You can go there to walk, to run, to play, to fall, to get up, to grow, to sit, to breathe and most opportunely, to enjoy the flowers. Is there anything more pure on a summer’s day than to find a patch of green to call your own and indulging in your chosen form of recreation? Honestly, the Veracity is a blooming blessing to the Sholing community.
Cost: Free parking. Free to use the facilities, to stretch your legs and to enjoy the wildflowers.
Accessibility: Bordered by Merryoak Road, Sholing Road and Spring Road, there is parking along most of the edges. Also on First Bus routes. Flat grass with some paved paths to dissect.
Facilities: No toilets. A Co-op on Spring Road and other local shops and businesses nearby. A playground, a skatepark, an exercise course and a MUGA on the park.