The Turnpike CIC was a bold, independent not-for-profit arts project with community at its heart, based in Leigh, Greater Manchester.

This web archive, titled Could this be paradise? reflects on our 5 years in Leigh, highlighting the community voices and artists who have worked with us to shape our organisation.

We want to say a huge thank you to our Turnpike family; the team members, volunteers, artists, community members, peer organisations, funders and supporters who have invested their energy, creativity and ingenuity with us over the years.

The Turnpike Centre Garden

Artist Frances Disley has been working with The Turnpike CIC and members of the Leigh community to establish a healing and sustainable garden for Leigh’s town centre. Using the local ecology as inspiration, Frances has developed a series of planting schemes that occupy the existing 1971 flower beds outside of The Turnpike Centre on Leigh's Civic Square.

Talk to the Garden
Taking the form of a book, Talk to the Garden is an invitation to get to know the green communities on your doorstep and beyond.

Outside the Turnpike Centre, each flower bed has its own theme according to the properties of the plants.

First Aid Kit
Plants selected for their healing properties, including calendula, comfrey, St John's wort, yarrow, witch hazel and lavender.
Tea Bed
Herbs that can be brewed for tea, including a variety of mints, camomile, lavender and oatstraw.
A blend of plants that offer extraordinary scents that calm and stimulate the senses, including jasmine, sage, mint, nicotiana and rose.
De-stress, calmness and wellbeing
Including motherwort, dog rose, liquorice and hawthorn
Colour and pigments
Plants that create natural dyes and pigments, including woad, madder, indigo, calendula and sunflowers

The Turnpike Centre Garden provides a community hub, a space for re-imagining the Civic Square, for promoting the greening of public spaces, for wellbeing activities and an education space for local children.

A publication, Talk to the Garden has been produced by Frances Disley in collaboration with the designer Holly Eliza Temple and will be available from Summer 2022. Reflecting the ethos and wisdom inherent within the garden, the book has contributions from Rasheeqa Ahmad (Rasheeqa Ahmad - The Nest Collective), Sean Roy Parker (Sean Roy PARKER, Member in London - Members | Axisweb: Contemporary Art UK Network), Andrea Ku (Bluecoat | Andrea Ku ( and Rebecca Lazarou (Rebecca Lazarou | Plants, Science, Healing RebeccaLazarou).

The project is delivered as part of Wanderland, a creative partnership with Lancashire Wildlife Trust which forms a connection between urban and local green spaces.

A huge thank you to our supporters on this project: Brighter Borough, Kenyon Hall Farm, Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Wigan Council.

About Frances Disley

Frances Disley is a visual artist based in Liverpool. Frances worked on a two-year commission for The Turnpike CIC, working with Fallen Angels Dance Theatre to explore positive approaches to addiction and mental health through the medium of dance and visual art. Since 2018, she has been working on a series of commissions for Human Libraries, Merseyside. Her project Freshly Cut Grass consists of a series of sound works taking the form of guided imaginary journeys, workshops, planting and wellbeing activities centred on the healing power of plants.