A secret garden of wellbeing in rural Argyll

Glenfinart Walled Garden is community owned and run by volunteers, many of whom have health issues. The group call it a garden of wellbeing. Lynn Kerr spoke to us about the garden's history and progress to date.

"This 'secret garden' is surrounded by a Grade B listed wall. The garden itself was bought by Ardentinny Community Trust to provide leisure, arts and crafts possibilities as well as organic fruit and veg produce. The original land was established in 1845 to provide veg, flowers and fruit to the  owners of the Glenfinart Estate. After the first world war the estate was bought by the Forestry commission.  

"We are a very rural and isolated project – people and groups have to travel several miles by bus to get to the garden but they come regularly. We are never without offers of help and the garden brings people together from a wide area. Local people and those new to the area get to know each other by coming to the garden.

"Local school children, including children from the local Primary and Secondary Learning Centres, come out for picnics and outdoor learning days. The Gaelic Unit pupils and Young Carers Group have raised beds in the garden. Both groups travel 12 miles to use the garden. Being in the garden gives the young people a break from caring and offers a safe environment where they can let off steam, run about and just be children again.  

"Community Payback come and work in the garden, laying paths and cutting the grass. HELP Ltd have undertaken several projects in the garden e.g. building raised beds and composting bins. We have disabled parking and a composting toilet with access for all.  

"We have an orchard with apple, pear and plum trees native to the UK. There are soft fruit bushes and vegetables are grown in raised beds.   

"We have 3 main events each year:

  • At Easter we hold an Easter Egg hunt and have egg and spoon races for all ages, stalls and refreshments
  • We host a Big Summer Picnic where locals bring their own picnics and there are musicians peforming and we provide teas and coffees
  • At our Harvest Fair we have pressed apple juice, soups, chutneys and vegetable curries to try, all made from our own produce.

"We have tables sales at other community events. All our fruit and vegetables are offered for a donation."



Finally, what do you value about being a member of SF&G?

“We are a very rural project so membership makes us feel less isolated. It’s great to know there is somewhere we can turn for advice so we are not reinventing the wheel. We’ve also benefitted from specific practical advice – to help us build our compost toilet!”

Related Case Studies

Beyond The Wall provides horticultural and hospitality training and work experience within a beautiful Victorian walled garden near Eye, Suffolk. Clients with learning and/or other extra needs learn life skills, form friendships and develop new hobbies and interests such as photography or bird-watching.

Starting from scratch in June 2018, Winchburgh is now a fresh food destination. Winchburgh Community Growing Group are growing food for the whole community all over the village – and they don’t even have a site yet!