Prior Deram Park
Prior Deram Walk
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Prior Deram Park is a new play area in Canley which has an Australian theme. There is an active Friends Group for the park.
Planting Scheme at Prior Deram Park
The plants in the Australian garden at Prior Deram Park have been chosen to provide an essence of Australia. The colours around the garden are colours that are linked to Australia, such as green and gold, while the plants have been place to recreate the Australian desert and outback; the image typically associated with Australia.
The cotton lavender and Carex bring gold colours, while the earthy colours of desert sands and rock are created by Helinium, Achillea, Heuchera and Rudbeckia. There are also silver leaved plants such as lamb’s ear as well as dark Phormium and the fiery red cogon grass. Movement, height, sounds and texture are brought to the garden by feather reed grass.
The plants bring together structure and colour, while the grass areas give you the chance to relax and enjoy the foliage. The planting style and colours provide a link to the Australian heritage of Canley.
Dawn to dusk
From medieval arrow making to a bridal present from Henry VIII and the birth of Australia – Prior Deram has a rich and varied history.
The site is believed to have been a home to Coventry people since it was first farmed in Anglo Saxon times and for centuries, the park and the land around it was known as Fletchamstead – referring to the trade of fletching or arrow-making.
In the 12th century, Henry I gave some of the land to Gerard, a hermit who built a hermitage and a chapel on the site, with the Knights Templar owning the farm and the land around it – giving us Gerard Avenue and Templars Field. The land later passed to the Abbot of Stoneleigh Abbey and the Knights Hospitaller based in Balsall.
The park is believed to have taken at least a part of its name from a prior in one of these Orders.
In the 16th century, King Henry VIII gave the Fletchamstead lands as a present to his wife Catherine Parr and they were later sold to the Leigh family of Stoneleigh who built Fletchamstead Hall – believed to have been in Torrington Avenue near to the junction with Wolfe Road.
At the turn of the 19th century, a local man named Parkes was working for the Stoneleigh Estate at a farmhouse called “Nether Fletchamstead” in what is now Queen Margaret’s Road. He was to have a son who became Sir Henry Parkes, Premier of New South Wales and known as the “Father of the Australian Federation”. His links with Australia are still celebrated today and the mosaic kangaroo (art project developed by Charter Primary School pupils) is here to remind us of his achievements and to celebrate Canley’s link with Australia.
In the 1930s the land was brought by Coventry Corporation and the first houses were built to serve the growing community of Canley, although farming continued and played a part in helping the war effort from 1939-45.
The new park has been designed with help from local residents, giving children a place to play and to remember the stories from its historic past.
For more information on Canley please visit www.coventry.gov.uk/canley