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THE WALLED GARDEN PROJECT

Norton Mere Cottage
Tong Norton
Shifnal, Shropshire TF11 8PZ

Registered Charity No. 1108757



 



   

 HORTICULTURE & RURAL STUDIES CENTRE
 
 
 
About the Project

Objectives of the Charity

To advance the education of the public in the field of horticulture and rural skills, primarily but not exclusively to promote the education and training of individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and individuals with learning difficulties and physical or other disabilities. 


   

The Journey

In September 2004 The Walled Garden Project began its activities by operating out of a small office, classroom and part of the walled garden at Weston Park on the Staffordshire/Shropshire border. The encouragement and generous nature of the help from the park gave us a fabulous start, but in order to grow and develop we reluctantly came to the decision to look for premises that offered greater scope.

We became a Registered Charity (Registered Charity No 1108757) in 2005, thus allowing the project to search and apply for funding.

March 2007 we moved to Coppice Green Lane, Shifnal. Here we had a ten year lease on six acres of ground. Over the years we developed the site, eventually giving us several workshops, tool room, office, composting toilets, themed gardens, polytunnel and much more besides. Our partnership with Walford and North Shropshire College meant we could offer courses to adults with learning difficulties on a vast scale, this was extremely beneficial to both client and project/college; but unfortunately in 2011  government funding for adults with learning difficulties was stopped. Due to this July 2011 marked the end of our partnership with the college and we had to look at alternative ways to fund the project.

September 2015 myself as Project Manager and The Trustees had to make the difficult decision not to renew the lease on Coppice Green Lane, Shifnal. To sign another ten year lease in the current climate, we felt would have been foolhardy. Thanks to landowner Frank Dakin we had nine glorious years on this site. Thanks also go to the many charitable organisations, businesses and individuals who donated funds to allow the development and upkeep of this site. Without this support it could have been a very different picture.

However, not all was doom and gloom. With kind permission and financial support from Lord Bradford and Viscount Newport (Bradford Rural Estates, Weston-Under-Lizard) we have been able to relocate and continue the project at our woodland site, Norton Mere, Tong Norton, Nr Shifnal. The Bradford Rural Estates have refurbished the outside toilet and buildings and allowed the project to construct a new workshop and tool room, the latter was funded by The Walker Trust.

The site offers half an acre of garden in which we grow fruit, vegetables and flowers for cutting, whilst also having lawn areas, herb garden and orchard. a sizeable polytunnel is where students learn how to propagate seeds and where they grow tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and chillies. We have a small flock of hens and the students thoroughly enjoy looking after them and watching their precarious antics running around the orchard trying to catch flies. We also have permitted use of the surrounding Bradford Rural Estate woodlands where new skills can be learned and a 26 acre mere for environmental discoveries, the latter is thanks to support from Weston-Under-Lizard Angling Club (WULAC).


 

The Team

Terry Merchant  Chairman of the Trustees
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Nick Crockford  Vice Chairman of  the Trustees and Company Secretary
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Mary Kidson  Trustee
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Jane Bishop  Trustee
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Rozz Crockford  Project Manager/Tutor
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Emma Wilkes  Assistant Manager/Tutor
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Corrina Jones  Learning support assistant
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Richard Ward  Site maintenance Volunteer