Bedford Fields Community Forest Garden is an open-access GARDEN DEMONSTRATING HOW FOREST GARDENING CAN BE A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE TO OUR FOOD SYSTEM - RESILIENT TO SOCIAL AND CLIMACTIC CHANGE. iT SERVES the local communities of Woodhouse and Hyde Park, and all who happen to visit this part of Leeds.
Despite our nearby parkland, the Hyde Park area has one of the lowest ratios of greenspace to grey built-up environment in the entire country, so the Forest Garden is a precious community resource. It is open to visit and enjoy at all hours, every day, and it is simple to contact the garden team if you'd like to join any of our workshops or events or if you want to volunteer with us. We are even more happy if you want to volunteer regularly as more hands make light work! You can send us a message here or call Ben on 07922513704.
Bedford Fields has been designed and planted along permaculture principles and demonstrates a variety of forest gardening techniques, making it a fascinating educational resource for children and experienced gardeners alike. The forest garden is planted in 'layers', like you find in a forest - the polar opposite to conventional planting in straight 2D rows. It is quite common to see vines climbing up trees and big narrow plants partnered with small bushy plants to create swathes of unbroken, almost weed-free plantings. In this way we make use of much more vertical space to get more yield, reduce maintenance time and build a more resilient and diverse garden. Healthy soil is also one of our top priorities and so we have created a carbon-rich soil full of worms, fungi and other beneficial microbes. For more information on forest gardening, please visit the Agroforestry Research Trust's website.
Permaculture is not just about making a fantastic garden, it's also about 'people care' and so we take extra care to make the garden a welcoming, safe space where anyone can contribute to the garden and where you can come any time to immerse yourself in the space. We organise tours, workshops, workdays and other events where further insights into this natural and sustainable art of gardening can be explored. See our upcoming programme here.
All the plants in the Bedford Fields Community Forest Garden are either edible, medicinal or useful in some way. Some of the edible perennial vegetables are unfamiliar and surprising – many commonly considered 'weeds', flowers, shoots, fungi, wild plants are perfectly edible and delicious. Most of the trees and shrubs in the gardens bear delicious fruits. You are welcome to harvest any time, being aware that the garden is relatively young and that it is for everyone to harvest from too. If you want to really understand the incredible harvest potential of the garden, let us show you, be it a workday or a foraging course!
The wildlife of the country increasingly depends on urban greenspaces for their survival. Bedford Fields has become an oasis for birds, and a rich seasonal feeding ground, with fruits and naturally balanced insect populations, not to mention the many animals that run and shelter in hedgerows. Guaranteed chemical-free resources like Bedford Fields support diversity and sustainability on every level and supports permaculture's three guiding principles - Earth share, Fair Share and People Care. See us in action by taking a look at our gallery here.
If you would like to get up-to-date news of workdays and activities on site, please message us and we'll put you on the Friends of Bedford Fields Mailing list.
Please see the events calendar and click on a day for a bigger description of the what, where and how of workdays, workshops and other events.
Below is a brief summary of what's going on at Bedfords:
WORKDAYS: Saturdays 11am- 4:00pm AND Fridays 10:30am - 12:30pm.
Saturdays usually includes lunch provided by All Hallows' Rainbow Junktion project and a fresh salad from the garden and also potentially bread to give away from Leeds Bread Co-op. Please get in contact to check if there will be food on the day you plan to come or if you have any particular dietary requirements.
Please see the events calendar and click on one of the workdays for more information.
WORKSHOPS, COURSES AND EVENTS
Please click on the calendar for full descriptions. To book a place, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Plant identification by patterns: an introduction - Saturday June 9th 10th and 30th and July 1st 10am - 4pm. 4 identical workshops (just come to one). Learn how to identify 6-8 of the commonest plant families to start idenfitying around 15% of all species of all plants in the world. £15-30. Lunch incl.
Hope to see you soon!
Leeds, West Yorkshire
If you would like to get up-to-date news of workdays and activities on site, please subscribe to the Bedford Fields Mailing List .
Joanna Dornan, who founded the project and who first cleared and planted it. Joanna brought her permaculture expertise to the gardens, and involved the Leeds Permaculture Network, as well a number of other like-minded organisations.
Ben Lawson, who has joined and now taken on the main responsibility of developing and managing the garden.
Nigel Lees, who supervised the planting of the wildlife corridor hedge, and continues to oversee its development. Nigel is also responsible for the stewardship management and ongoing development of the Woodhouse Ridge woodlands.
Doug Louis, who has represented the Parks and Countryside department of Leeds City Council in securing and developing the project. It is the Education department that have the site vested within their portfolio but they delegated its oversight to the Parks and Countryside team. Thanks to both departments.
Mercia Southon, who first identified the unused bramble- and bindweed-choked site as a possible community resource, sought and gained permission and funding to initiate the project, and created the quarter-mile wildlife corridor hedge that extends from it to the woodland of Woodhouse Ridge. Mercia also led the public campaign to have the path that runs alongside the gardens and the wildlife corridor hedge registered as a public footpath.
Walter Lewis, who has taken almost all the brilliant photographs on this site. Take a look at more of his great work on his new website here: www.feedingbodyandsoul.com and see his other work at www.spiritoftheland.co.uk
Andrew Lambeth and Natalie McAnuff, who have created this website.
All the lovely volunteers who have helped to create and maintain the Forest Garden in its first decade.