The Story of the Quiet View

Overwhelmed by failed attempts to turn a large patch of grass, clay and flint into a garden for the family who, 35 years ago, would not appreciate it anyway, I prayed a simple prayer in my heart. ‘God – I’ll create something beautiful for you’. It seemed a pathetic and hopeless prayer, but at least my enjoyment of the task did not seem so selfish any more. I could not have imagined how God could accept that small offering and inspire, guide and provide for the blossom that is now bringing peace to the countless people who come to The Quiet View. We had acquired a field of some 2 acres next to the house. This had been derelict for at least 50 years and together with the 10 foot high masses of brambles, blackthorn and dog wood was full of the rubbish that had been dumped over several decades. We cleared away beds, bikes, old bangers and much more!

Every few weeks, John, would mow a path round the field so that we could walk round it and, one day, he mowed a path towards the fence, at the edge. This created a quiet space underneath an ash tree overlooking a wonderful view over the fields and woods and became the place where friends, family and visitors were able to think or talk through difficult situations in their lives. It became known as The Thinking Place and was the first of several hidden ‘rooms’ we have carved out of the natural habitat .

As trees and shrubs began to grow into areas of simple beauty, more people came to visit and many commented on how they felt ‘peace’ when they sat quietly in the garden. People with poor mental health would come and be calmed. It dawned on us that all human beings are in need of peace of heart.

We had been given a beautiful place to live in and we discovered that God was calling us to share it with as many people as possible, particularly those who needed but did not find comfort in the church. So many people live on the edge in some way and a simple prayer became a deep longing to offer opportunities for inner healing to all who would come. Affiliation to The Quiet Garden Trust came at a point when we needed accreditation and helped us to offer the space as a resource for individual Christians or church groups. When BBC Songs of Praise featured the garden we felt a wonderful sense of God’s pleasure and encouragement.

Facilities have developed miraculously thanks to the generosity of friends, family and supporters. We have received gifts of plants, shrubs and trees, caravans and equipment so that people in need of rest could stay, funds to build a permanent labyrinth and lately a large yurt for groups to meet in all weathers. Much valued too, are the gifts of skills and labour that so many have lovingly offered.
Over the years we have learnt that that peace of heart may not only be attained through silence and prayer. So we are glad that youth groups come to camp and the sound of happy voices may be heard in the air, echoing the sounds of children playing years ago when the field was completely wild. Today, in the strength and love of the Spirit, a more cultivated natural space is still being created, a space where all ages may play happily.

Today The Quiet View welcomes people of all faiths or no faith for we believe that God’s love embraces all people. When our son was 9 years old and we were sitting together in another garden, he said ‘I feel closer to God in a garden than anywhere else.’ His wisdom became for me continuing motivation to work with God to offer a natural space where people would discover that He was, already, close to them.