‘Incredible Edible’ Bradford on Avon

Changes are afoot around Bradford on Avon. Slowly little pockets of edible loveliness are springing up in public spaces.

Anyone who has visited the railway station in the last few months will have seen what can be achieved on the platform by a small group of ‘station gardeners’ working together for a few hours a week. It’s still evolving but herbs, bulbs and perennial shrubs on both sides of the platform are beginning to put on a splendid show.

Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon (CFB) Sustainable Food and Drink Group and Biodiversity Group’s shared initiatives include, working with Cally Smart of Country Gate Gardens: in Lambs Yard, in the centre of town, one of the large metre square wooden planters has been adopted and recently a community planting event took place, digging out and re-homing the silver birch and periwinkles and establishing an edible garden. A cordon pear, rose, strawberries and herbs for public picking show just how much can be packed successfully into a small growing space. Hopefully this will inspire others to follow suit, with appropriate permissions, and will be the first of many edible containers and beds that we’ll see springing up around the town and in the villages.

At Bearfield Playing Field an orchard of eight (soon to be nine) fruit trees and a native hedgerow has been established. The next phase is the planting of a wildflower area on May 5th and 12th from 2-4pm to increase the biodiversity of the site. And when the Council recently surfaced with tarmac the path to the Shoulder of Mutton allotments, at the top of the golf course, they left a few feet of clay soil on either side of the path. This proved to be the perfect opportunity to sow a special clay soil wildflower seed mix along the whole length of the path. Over the next few months allotment holders, residents, cyclists and dog walkers should get to appreciate the kind of wildflower verge we may not have seen much for years.

At Fitzmaurice School the gardening club which Cally runs has been turning its attention to wildflowers, edible flowers and a cutting patch to increase the availability of local flowers as well as local food. Their polytunnel supplies the school kitchen with salads and herbs aplenty are beginning to grow among the shrubs along the pathway from the entrance of the school to the Children’s Centre.

For further information on all these projects and what’s planned for the future including the Local Food map which is being produced visit www.climatefriendlybradfordonavon.co.uk or Cally Smart’s blog www.countrygategardens.co.uk. We are always happy to welcome volunteers when we’re sowing and planting and put you in touch with people who can advise you about growing your own ‘incredible edibles’. And as the weather is so good why not visit The Courts gardens in Holt (National Trust) to see their fruit and veg plot? You’ll be surprised just how productive a relatively small garden area can be.

Submitted by Cally Smart at Country Gate. Photograph by Richard Craft.

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