Dorset Wildlife Trust hands over garden to Swanage community

In an official ceremony with the Swanage Mayor present, the Greengage Project team has taken over the community garden in Prospect Crescent from the Dorset Wildlife Trust.

The old Swanage Town Council parks and garden depot, that once supplied the town with its bedding plants, was given a new lease of life by Dorset Wildlife Trust who saw the potential to develop the site as a community garden.

People at the Greengage Project

Chair of the Greengage Community Garden, Bob Walters thanks everyone who set up the project

Swanage Town Clerk Martin Ayres and the Mayor Avril Harris

Attending the official handover ceremony was Swanage Town Clerk, Martin Ayres (left) and Swanage Town Mayor, Avril Harris (right).

A garden to promote wellbeing

With a huge greenhouse and raised beds, the trust set to work laying the foundations to create a garden to promote wellbeing. However with the charity’s priorities changing and its finances hit by the pandemic, it could no longer continue to fund the project.

On hearing the news, local residents stepped in and took over the lease. Now the garden will operate under the umbrella of the Swanage and Purbeck Development Trust.

Flowers at the Greengage Project
Butterfly at the Greengage Project

All visitors are welcome including this speckled wood butterfly

“We all benefit from contact with nature”

Speaking at the event, community engagement manager for the Dorset Wildlife Trust, Nicki Brunt said:

“We all benefit from contact with nature and the natural world and this project exemplifies that. I know that a day spent here with everyone left me feeling better, happier and more relaxed and thank you to all of you for always making me feel so welcome.”

Two members of the Dorset Wildlife Trust staff who helped set up the project from the beginning, couldn’t be at the event as they’ve both moved to Devon, but Nicki passed on messages from them. She said:

“Briony Baxter, who initiated this project says that ‘she is thrilled to hear how well Greengage is doing, often thinks of you all and wishes you all great growing, in every way in the future and would love to visit soon.

“And Katie Wilkinson says it has been a privilege to work with everyone at Greengage and it’s been part of a journey. With any project it’s the people that make all the difference and the reason Greengage is flourishing. The group’s dedication and enthusiasm is so inspiring and I hope you go from strength to strength. Wishing you all luck for the future.’ I don’t think I can say better than that!”

Bob Walters at the Greengage Project
Swanage Town Mayor Avril Harris and Operations Manager Gail Percival
Greengage project team

Attending the event were representatives from Dorset Wildlife Trust, Swanage Town Council, The Purbeck and Swanage Development Trust and volunteers from the Greengage Community Garden

“Open up the place to all parts of the community

The community garden is now run by a management committee of six people, chaired by Bob Walters. He said:

“We can now expand the activities and open up the place to all parts of the community in Swanage. From schools to art groups, we’d like them all to visit and enjoy the garden. As well as anyone who wants to volunteer in the garden – it’s great for improving physical and mental well being.

“Our plans for the future include growing enough fruit and veg to keep the Swanage Foodbank well stocked. And we may have enough apples to host an apple day – that would
be great!”

vegetables at the Greengage Project

A bumper harvest!

Open day as part of the Planet Purbeck Festival

One of the first events will be an open day on Friday 24th September 2021 from 11 am to 3 pm, as part of the week-long Planet Purbeck Festival. The garden can be found on the right, just off Prospect Crescent, before the allotments in Swanage.

Also Prospect Green which is adjacent to the garden will be holding an information event on the same day, hosted by Sustainable Swanage about the work done to improve the biodiversity of the area. They’ll be two talks by local ecologist Lindsay Carrington about meadow grasses and plants at 11.30 am and 1 pm.

Further information

  • More Planet Purbeck Festival events are listed on its website
  • Information about Dorset Wildlife Trust is on its website

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