Category: Shipley Woodside Community Garden

December 2020 at the Community Garden

December 2020 Community Garden

As we come to the end of the year, we look back at the progress made on the Garden and are immensely proud of what has been achieved by all of our members and volunteers. The feedback and support from the community has been incredible and means so much to us all.

We look forward to the time when COVID restrictions are not necessary and the Garden is more accessible to everyone that wants to visit or volunteer. There are so many exciting projects happening at the Garden in 2021 and the addition of a large shed will provide us with the space and shelter to hold workshops and talks on a wide range of topics. It will also be a space to just sit and have a cuppa with friends!

Volunteers have been putting their crafting skills to good use this month making wreaths, wooden Christmas trees and attempting to make the polytunnel look festive!

December 2020 at the Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

The Honey Bees are coming!

Keith Stevenson, Chairman of Shipley Parish Council has been an avid beekeeper for many years and will be introducing the beautiful bees to the garden in Spring next year. Keith had this to say:

The location for two National hives is being carefully chosen, giving consideration to neighbours, as well as providing a suitable and safe area with sun/shade balance, that the bees will comfortably enjoy.

There will be access control into the hive site, which is important, in order to create an environment that is safe for the bees, provides protection from inquisitive animals, and yet allows people to view the bees going about their business of gathering pollen and nectar.

Consideration is also being given to the bees flight path, and the natural existing hedgerow screening will be used, soo that when the bees leave the hive, they will fly up quickly above head height, where they will not be a nuisance.

A secure storage area, for spare hive parts, as well as a safe viewing area is to be created near to the hive site for visitors to quietly enjoy watching these marvellous bees.

Honey bees are wonderful pollinators, and when they are foraging, they are not defensive. They just want to get on with the job of pollination and nectar collecting.

In 2021, I will be concentrating on establishing the bee colony on their new site. There will be regular beekeeping visits throughout the year, as well as the chance for people to get up close to the bees and get an understanding of how they work.

The area has all been planned out with Keith’s expert input and he has been hard at work preparing the area.

The doors on the polytunnel have now been installed, staging is all repaired, painted and built along one side and some seeds have already been sown! We are now ready to make the beds on the opposite side.

We have purchased four more IBC’s and placed them next to the pond site ready for us to use the harvested rainwater to fill the pond, when this is built in early Spring.

November 2020 at the Community Garden

November 2020 at the Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

This month has seen the ground cleared and prepared ready for more raised beds to be made. One of our volunteers has kindly donated a real Christmas Tree and volunteers have been digging a huge hole, which will hold an IBC to collect the rainwater run off from the polytunnel.

Planting and extending the Food Forest continues. This is really starting to fill out now but still plenty more to be done!

As we head towards winter, our attention has turned to planning for next year, including building the wildlife pond, shelter, developing the children’s natural play area, building more raised beds, plus much more.

Volunteers were busy crafting, making poppies and poppy wreaths we displayed on the entrance gates and in the notice board, in support of Rememberance Sunday and Armistice Day earlier this month.

October 2020 at the Community Garden

October 2020 Community Garden

This month has seen the Sensory Garden show off its Autumn colours, the Polytunnel cover has gone on, planting has continued in the Food Forest, the planting area around the Children’s Pond has been expanded and planted and we launched ‘Veg on the Hedge’.

We say a special thank you to our friends Christina and Robin on Hassock Lane for their extremely kind donation of wildlife friendly plants, fruit trees, currant and berry bushes from their allotment. We have already planted a couple of full car loads and there is still more to come!

Sensory Garden

The plants and shrubs have established so well that the Sensory Garden beds were actually too full (a nice problem to have!)

We had planted a lot of Goat Willow in some of the beds, not expecting that all of the donated plants would settle and do so well, bearing in mind some of them had even gone passed being good enough for the clearance trolleys in the Garden Centre! So we have been busy moving the Goat Willow into the Food Forest and moving plants into different beds where they are more suited for that specific sensory experience.

Stunning autumn colour and late nectar sources for the Bees.


We managed to find a fairly wind free day and volunteers rallied to get the cover on. This wasn’t an easy task but we did it! Work has started on repairing and painting the donated staging and designing the inside. It won’t be too long and it will be a fully operational Polytunnel.

Awesome work everyone

Veg on the Hedge

This has been an idea in the making for a while and sees a trough fitted to the notice board at the Garden’s entrance, where volunteers will routinely be leaving produce for passers-by to help themselves to. So far there has been Raspberries, Tomatoes, Apples, Green Beans, Chard and Kale. So keep your eyes out, help yourselves and spread the word!

Other news

September 2020 at the Community Garden

September 2020 at the Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

A number of the regular volunteers have been on their holidays this month, so we haven’t had the normal numbers but as usual, all the volunteers have been working hard and socially distanced on various projects.

We also welcomed the wonderful Gardener Steve broadcasting live for Erewash Sound’s Saturday Lunch and Gardening Show on the 19th. Unfortunately due to strong winds it wasn’t possible for any interviews to take place and as the only shelter we currently have is the Compost Toilet, yep you guessed it, Steve broadcast from in there!


The frame is now in place. Once Graham has made the doors, we will be able to fit the cover. We just need to wait for a day with no winds, otherwise you may spot one or two of us flying over Ilkeston!

Butterfly Bank

We are enormously grateful to Jim Steele, Butterfly Conservation Officer for Derbyshire for taking the lead on planning and designing our Butterfly Bank in the meadow area. Jim was also able to secure funding from the Butterfly Conservation for the plants.

Sensory Garden and Paths

There has been some tidying up to do in the Sensory Garden from all the digging by our resident badger/s! We have harvested herbs from the Herb Bed and some of these were bundled up for passers-by to help themselves to. More plants have been added and we had Limestone aggregate left over from the Butterfly Bank, which means we have been able to continue with the main footpath leading away from the Sensory Garden to the Friendship Bench.

Team work! Tammy and Dawn fetching the aggregate ready for Graham to lay the path.

Everything else!

Erewash Sound Radio join us at Shipley Woodside Community Garden

Erewash Sound Radio join us at Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

We welcomed Gardener Steve to the Garden on Saturday 19 September 2020 for the Saturday lunch show. Due to the strong winds it wasn’t possible for any of the volunteers to be interviewed and Steve had to broadcast from the glamourous compost toilet but we loved having him there and sharing our passion for the Garden.

You can listen here.

Erewash Sound · Saturday Lunch with Gardener Steve

1 Year Anniversary for the Community Garden

1 Year Anniversary for the Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

It is hard to believe a year has passed since Shipley Parish Council granted the lease to SEAG to turn the 1.5 acre disused field on Hassock Lane South into a Community Garden but here we are and what a year it has been!

Volunteer numbers have continued to rise as have visitors to the Garden.

We would have loved to have held a celebration with you all at the Garden but this type of event has just not been possible this year. So instead two of our volunteers have been busy creating a video and special edition Newsletter to mark the occasion.

This is our way of saying thank you to all the volunteers, SEAG members, community, businesses and organisations that have supported the Community Garden over the last 12 months. We are looking forward to another exciting 12 months and hope you continue on this journey with us!

Thanks to Lynsey Beaumont for putting together the special edition Newsletter and Graham Kearton for another of his fantastic videos. Also thanks to Andy King, one of our supporters in Wiltshire for composing and playing the music in the video.

August 2020 at the Community Garden

August 2020 Community Garden

Well the initial hot weather and wet and windy weather for the rest of August hasn’t stopped progress at the garden. Seeing the garden full of colour and life in August has been very special as we approach the garden’s 1 year anniversary at the end of this month.

Since we are not able to safely hold a celebration this year, we are putting together a special 1 year anniversary newsletter to share with you all very soon.


We discovered lots of holes all over the garden and various different theories were put forward. The mystery was solved when the newly installed wildlife camera captured this!

August 2020 at the Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

We then strategically placed the camera where we thought the badger/s were entering the garden but our camera caught this chap/ess instead!

Butterfly Bank

August 2020 at the Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

The creation of a Butterfly Bank is now in process, situated close to the Wildflower Meadow. We are extremely grateful for the expert advice and input from Jim Steele, Butterfly Conservation Officer for Derbyshire.

This bank should make a big contribution to butterfly conservation within the garden, providing a specialised habitat facing south that will be planted with specific, wild flower plants that are the caterpillar food plants of certain butterfly species, and it will also hold some nectar-rich flowers for various butterflies to feed upon. The bank is made primarily from cut turf usefully donated from the grassland that has had paths cut through it elsewhere in the garden. A topping of small, limestone aggregate is now being sought that will act as a mulch and also provide an alkaline soil environment that suits most of the plants intended for the bank. Plants will be planted through the aggregate into the up-turned turf below, and some seeding might also be carried out. The curved bank design should be more pleasing on the eye than a straight feature, and the various parts of the bank will benefit from sunlight at different times during the day. The bank will require maintenance and ‘fine tuning’ as we go along but it will surely be a worthwhile endeavour.

Jim Steele, Butterfly Conservation Officer for Derbyshire

We held the Big Butterfly Count on 1 August 2020 aided by Jim and Bob Deavin, local bird expert. We identified 9 different species – 2 large whites, 2 small whites, 2 green vein whites, 1 brimstone, 1 meadow brown, 2 gatekeepers, 1 comma and 1 small tortoiseshell. We are looking forward to comparing this data with next year’s once the Butterfly Bank and garden are more established.

Sensory Garden

The Sensory Garden is looking fantastic right now and we can actually say it is FINISHED! Well in so far as the landscaping, planting, mulching and different paths are now completed but as this is a garden, there will still be plenty to keep us occupied and develop further!

If you haven’t visited the garden yet or haven’t been for a while, be sure to come and visit and see the Sensory Garden in Summer with all its different colours, scents and textures.

Children’s Gardening Area

August 2020 at the Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

A specific area for children’s gardening has been started by one of our younger volunteers as part of his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award with the assistance from his lovely mum. The turf has been removed and Willow weaved to create the edging.


The raised beds have continued do really well and volunteers have been able to share plenty of produce already in our growing season. The squash has absolutely loved growing in the tractor tyre as have the tomatoes, which will be ready to be harvested soon. The raspberry bed in the food forest is full of berries at the moment and hopefully next year, the young fruit trees will be producing plenty of produce.

One of SEAG’s missions has always been to share the Garden’s produce with the community and our volunteer Ruth handed over some produce from the Garden to Marlpool United Reformed Church, which was added to food parcels put together by volunteers. This project is facilitated by FareShare and Rural Action Derbyshire. If you or anyone you know in the local community is in need of a food parcel, contact Yvonne on 07792 770512.

Friendship Bench

We launched the garden’s Friendship Bench on 15 August 2020 and welcomed our first visitors. You can read more here about the idea behind the Bench and how it came to be.

Other news …

  • On the 23 August 2020 we were joined by Barry Collins of BJ Collins Protected Species Surveyors and his family to talk to members and volunteers about potential ideas for the Garden to make it as wildlife friendly as possible. We are very grateful for Barry to give up his free time to share his expert advice and knowledge with us and we have lots more ideas to add to the list of projects to consider.
  • The Polytunnel has been delivered and work has started on preparing the area. We are super excited to get the Polytunnel built as this will mean we will be able to grow much more produce and plants and extend our growing season. Going into Winter it will also give us some shelter until our wooden structure is built.
  • A very special Elm Tree ‘Ademuz’, a rare wild Spanish Field Elm was donated and planted by Jim Steele. This will hopefully be there long after any of us!

Friendship Bench launched at Shipley Woodside Community Garden

Friendship Bench launched at Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

SEAG is very pleased to announce the launch of our “Friendship Bench” at Shipley Woodside Community Garden, Hassock Lane South on Saturday 15th August 2020 10 am – 1 pm.

We are very grateful for the generous donations of two wooden seats, plant pots and funds to purchase the plants. Volunteers have made a planter to sit between the two seats to create the beautiful Friendship Bench. The two seats are adequately spaced to maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Volunteers have worked hard to clear the area of turf, edged with wood and mulched with woodchip.

The Friendship Bench is in a perfect spot overlooking the sensory garden. On Wednesdays 1 – 4 pm and Saturdays 10 am – 1 pm when the garden is open, anybody is welcome to come in and enjoy the view. There will always be someone to greet you and show you around or to simply sit and talk.

The path to the Friendship Bench is well on the way to being wheelchair accessible and there is a small area for parking on site. We are carefully observing social distancing while we work on the garden so at the moment we can’t offer you a cuppa but we can offer you the chance to sit and chat if you would like to.

SEAG member and volunteer at the Community Garden, Nicky Godridge shares her vision for the Friendship Bench.

The idea began some time ago when I heard about a Friendship Bench on the local radio. I thought it was brilliant to know that there could be somewhere that anybody can go to and find somebody to chat with, the idea behind it being to reduce social isolation and improve mental wellbeing.

I looked at lots of places where a bench could be situated but the work involved in getting funding and generating interest seemed a bit of a mountain to climb, but when I suggested the idea to the other members, they all loved the idea and very soon we had the generous donations from members of the community who had heard about the vision and equally loved it, making the Friendship Bench become a reality.

Then came lockdown and for a few weeks the streets were empty and we had to halt volunteering at the Community Garden. After some time, it became possible for volunteering to start again with social distancing and other measures in place. We leave our gates open when we are on site and gradually more people paused from their daily exercise to have a look at what we were doing and chat.

I remember one conversation in particular, when a gentleman stopped just as I was closing the gate. He told me that he started work as a miner at Woodside as soon as he left school. We continued to have a lovely chat for about half an hour and I invited him to come back the next time he was walking nearby. I haven’t seen him again but now if he comes back we can offer him a seat and the chance to have another conversation.

July 2020 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden

July 2020 Community Garden

We are absolutely delighted with the progress made this month. Volunteers have continued to work safely, socially distancing and taking necessary precautions by not sharing tools and disinfecting. We have welcomed new visitors and volunteers and have loved meeting you all.

All the planted fruit trees, raspberries, grasses, herbs and perennials are doing really well. Even those donated by a local garden centre that would have otherwise been thrown out, have in the main come back to life. That could be down to the warm and wet July we have had or the loving way some of our volunteers talk to them – either way we are very happy!

Main access paths

The main wheelchair accessible path up to the sensory garden and centre circle is now finished. This was a huge effort by four of our volunteers. The path was all marked out, turf removed, the ground levelled, edged with wooden strips, weed membrane laid to suppress any weeds, MOT type 1 put down and then compacted with the whacker plate, which has been generously loaned to the garden by a member of the community.

July 2020 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

The next phase of the path leading from the sensory garden up to the social area, where a barn structure will be situated has been marked out and turf lifted. At the rate our volunteers are working, no doubt they will have this finished in a couple of days!

July 2020 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

Compost toilet

The shed has been painted, separator toilet installed, plumbed in and signage in place. Yes a separator does exactly what you are thinking – it separates the ones and two’s! The ones are separated into a soak away, which has been dug in the land and the twos into a bucket which after each use is covered by wood shavings and sawdust, which means it doesn’t smell. This waste composts down into humanure, which is a fantastic compost suitable for trees and bushes. You can read more here about how a compost toilet works.

Sensory Garden

The sensory garden is looking fantastic right now. More of the different path edging has been completed, a start made on removing turf in the sunflower and hot beds, mulching, weeding and more planting.

Upcycling in action! Galvanised pots and pans for planting and oven dish with a solar powered pump to create this lovely water feature.


Vegetables have been harvested from the raised beds for volunteers, with lots more still to come and the young trees have done well, with some fruit now appearing.

Bird and Bat Boxes

Many thanks to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Woodside Farm in Shipley Park for donating bat and bird boxes for use at the garden. These have now been erected and we shall be eagerly watching these for signs of use.

Other news …

July 2020 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

Jim Steele, Butterfly Conservation Officer for Derbyshire has been offering his expert advice and support so that we can attract more butterflies to the garden. With Jim’s input we have planned a butterfly bank in the wildflower meadow and started to build this with sods removed from the main path.

  • A specific area for children’s gardening has been started by one of our young volunteers as part of his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

  • The tree of life and yin and yang sign are looking amazing in the meadow area thanks to the dedication of one volunteer to keep this area mowed and the grass around has grown longer.

  • The staging for the polytunnel, which is coming soon, has been refurbished and painted.

  • Discounted woodchip supplied from LSJ Services, which we use to mulch everywhere to suppress the weeds and help plants and trees retain moisture.

Finally, a big thank you for all the donations and discounted items we have received this month. We really couldn’t achieve so much if it wasn’t for the generosity and support of the local community and businesses.

Successful funding grant for Shipley Woodside Community Garden

Successful funding grant for Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

Issued: 16 July 2020

Shipley Eco-Action Group celebrates after receiving funding from the Severn Trent Community Fund

Local community group, Shipley Eco-Action Group (SEAG), is today celebrating after being awarded £6,243.00 from the Severn Trent Community Fund to support its Shipley Woodside Community Garden project at Hassock Lane South in Shipley, Derbyshire, close to Shipley Country Park.  The funds will be used to create a large wildlife pond, erect a barn structure, the purchase of a recycled plastic bench seat, tool shed and a solar powered submersible water pump and 4 IBC’s so that ground and rainwater can be collected.

SEAG has been running for just over a year and was founded by neighbours Bess Saunders and Kay and Graham Kearton after they realised they shared a passion for sustainable living, the environment and permaculture. SEAG soon had more members following a successful open day, at which the neighbours opened their homes and  focused on promoting community networks, recycling and re-thinking how we can lead sustainable lifestyles, the open day was supported by the Woodland Trust, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, organic producers Weleda and The British Lung Foundation.

SEAG acquired a 7.5 year rolling lease from Shipley Parish Council to work on the 1.5 acre disused field and established Shipley Woodside Community Garden in September 2019.  In less than a year SEAG members and volunteers have transformed the field into a beautiful and productive Community Garden.  The Garden is currently open to visitors and volunteers every Saturday 10 am-1 pm and every Wednesday 1 pm-4 pm.

The new funding from the Severn Trent Community Fund which awards grant money to improve the three elements of community wellbeing – people, places and environment, means that the addition of the large wildlife pond, will quickly attract wildlife, promote biodiversity and allow fun educational events such as pond dipping. The barn structure will provide valuable shelter especially during the colder and wetter days and also mean SEAG can press ahead with its plans of offering educational talks to the community on sustainable living practices and the value of nature, whilst also providing a safe space in a natural environment for people to come together.

Lynsey Beaumont, SEAG member says: “We’re delighted that the Severn Trent Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. We’re thankful to the Severn Trent Customer Panel for selecting us for funding so that we will be able to press on with our plans to develop the Community Garden.  The support from the community thus far has been fantastic and we are excited to be able to progress with the plans to add the wildlife pond and structure for the community to enjoy.”

Councillor Keith Stevenson and Chairman of Shipley Parish Council says this about the Community Garden: “It has to be amongst one of the best things that has ever happened in this area, and it has proven to be successful in attracting people, not only from the local area, but also from across the UK, as it has come to the attention of other similar groups that want to learn and share  similar experiences of organising this type of project.”

Find out more at

Successful funding grant for Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group
The locations for the pond and barn


For further information contact

About the Severn Trent Community Fund

Successful funding grant for Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

Severn Trent is giving away £10 million over the next five years through its Community Fund to support local projects, charities and community groups in the Severn Trent region – helping to make a real and tangible difference to the wellbeing in our communities. The Community Fund is overseen by an independent panel, made up of Severn Trent customers, who review applications and make the final decisions on where the money will go.

The Severn Trent Community Fund looks to support projects that aim to improve community wellbeing, focusing on three elements:

People: projects that help people to lead a healthier life and gain new skills

Places: projects that help to create better places to live in and use

Environment: projects that will help look after our natural environment, give people greater access to that environment or help look after water.

More can be found out on their website

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