Celebrity TV gardener Matt Leigh has been helping to create an exciting new attraction “on a different scale” at Southport Pleasureland.
Matt Leigh will be recognised by many as the Gardener, Designer and Project Manager responsible for the garden builds of ITV’s Love Your Garden with Alan Titchmarsh.
His role involves designing, organising and overseeing the transformation of blank, unimaginative and often unusable spaces into awe inspiring, life changing dream gardens for the most worthy of individuals and families.
Matt, the owner of Matt Leigh Gardens, has also built and overseen a number of award-winning show gardens including the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.
He has recently spent time on site at Southport Pleasureland, where he was helping to transform the land in front of the park into a stunning new Viking themed 18-hole adventure golf attraction with an associated ‘longhouse’ themed pub / eatery and parking.
The exciting new attraction is due to open this July.
Matt carefully selected around 100 trees plus hundreds of plants to create four very different ‘zones’ as he plans and oversees all the landscaping within the new attraction.
Visitors will be able to enjoy a huge variety of different colours, smells and textures, with the adventure golf boasting huge sensory benefits.
Matt, who has been part of the Love Your Garden team for the past four years, is currently between shoots, having filmed one programme a few days ago in Sudbury with the second show being filmed in London next week.
He said: “With Love Your Garden, we go into the community and surprise people who have done amazing things by creating beautiful gardens for them.
“Sometimes we base them around people’s ‘happy places’, such as where they have been away on holiday. Sometimes the garden is built to take them away from the difficulties they are facing or the stress out of their lives.
“A lot of our work on the show is based around themes. We need to ensure that we are meeting the needs of that individual person.
“We have been creating themes at Southport Pleasureland too.
“The reason I was attracted to this project at Southport Pleasureland was that I really understand what the owner Norman Wallis is trying to achieve here, which was to create an exciting new attraction involving wildlife, trees and plants.
“All the trees and plants here will make a massive difference.
“There are four areas here which are all themed: Boat Yard; Marshland; Village Life; and Market Place.
“Every area here will have different types of trees and plants, with different colours, different textures, different smells. A lot of these plants have amazing scents.
“Kids should enjoy touching and feeling the plants, it should be part of the experience. It has all been thought through.
“Every single component within this garden has to earn its place here.
“When it is all completed it will add up to something that is really quite special.”
As well as providing tremendous enjoyment for visitors, the new Viking themed adventure golf site at Southport Pleasureland will provide significant benefits for people’s wellbeing.
Matt said: “This is the first contract I have done like this.
“I love to do anything that gets people out to enjoy places outdoors.
“I am a huge believer in trying to improve people’s mental health.
“Plants and trees create a feeling, and that feeling is transferred into your experience and your wellbeing.
“There must be around 100 trees going in here. We have been very careful to select trees that will suit these seaside conditions.
“People will be completely immersed within this attraction when they come here. It will really take them away from their everyday life.
“I have seen adventure golf attractions before, but what Southport Pleasureland is creating here is on a completely different scale! People are going to really enjoy it. Norman Wallis wants to take this to a completely different level to anything else out there.
“There is an adventure golf course near where I live in Devon, but it is nothing like this is going to be.
“The thing I am really passionate about is boosting mental health and encouraging people into outdoor spaces and enjoying plants known to have mental health benefits.”
The new Southport Pleasureland Viking themed adventure golf attraction that will be “nothing like anywhere in the UK”.
The 18-hole course will also boast an associated ‘longhouse’ themed pub / eatery and parking.
The proposal will create a brand new small scale visitor experience immediately adjacent to Pleasureland and owned and managed by them.
It will enhance the visitor experience and provide an additional offer for the key leisure based activity for the town.
Southport Pleasureland owner Norman Wallis said: “The Viking theme was chosen as the local area here is steeped in Viking history.
“Many of the local town names and even surnames are thought to have Viking origins – such as the surname Rimmer and place names such as Ormskirk, Altcar and so on.
“We are keen to create an attraction that is very exciting, with a really good atmosphere, but that also has local relevance so that it is both fun and educational.
“It will be a great place to come during the day and the evening for everyone, and will also make a great venue for corporate and private functions.
“It really is unique as there is nothing like this anywhere else in the UK, so we hope that it will help to attract more people to the local area to help the wider Southport, Sefton and Liverpool City Region economies.”
This is an exciting time for Southport Pleasureland, which earlier this year opened its brand new 35-metre high observation wheel, called The Southport Big Wheel.
The park has also secured planning permission for a spectacular new 260 metre long roller coaster which will run adjacent to Marine Drive.
Following Sefton’s great initiative and promise on Climate Change Emergency Implementation Plan, Norman Wallis CEO of Southport Pleasureland earlier this year revealed his commitment for the family attraction to become the first net zero carbon theme park in the UK.
In April he revealed exciting plans for a brand new Dinosaur Park in Southport that will lead the way in environmentally friendly attractions.
This ambitious initiative is driven by his concerns over climate change and his desire to support our younger generations.
For more details about Southport Pleasureland and for tickets please visit: www.southportpleasureland.com