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 Ian on 07486 540 510.

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 or the facebook link provided for a bigger description of the what, where and how of workdays, workshops and other events.

WORKDAYS:  Fridays 10:30am - 12:30pm

Friday workdays are run in collaboration with Hyde Park Source through the "Active, Outdoors and Well" project, that also run a number of sites all over Leeds that you can also volunteer at. The sessions have an emphasis on improving wellbeing by doing something outdoors.  To volunteer at this session at Bedford Fields, it is essential you register first. You can get in contact with Hyde Park Source by emailing or calling 0113 226 2623 or 07565883762

AND Saturdays 10am- 4:00pm over winter, 11:00 - 5:00pm in summer (from 31st March 2019)

Saturdays involves maintaining the garden according to what's needed at that time of year. Saturdays include lunch provided by All Hallows' Rainbow Junktion project ( supplemented with 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 or call Ian on 07486 540 510 to see what activities and skills you'd be likely to learn on one particular day.



Please click on the calendar for full descriptions or follow the facebook link provided. To book a place,  email All monies through workshops go to the unrestricted funds for Friends of Bedford Fields who oversee and ensure the development and continuation of Bedford Fields Community Forest Garden.

Winter tree Identification: An introduction. February 16th and 23rd, 10am - 3pm. 20 - 35 pounds.

To book a place or for more information: Call/text Ian on 07486 540 510 or email 20 - 35 pounds depending on income. Booking essential. Vegetarian lunch provided. Choose one workshop only.

An introduction to winter tree identification:

You will be given the tools to start identifying any tree in winter which loses its leaves (deciduous). You will also learn about a few commonly found evergreen trees. This course is focussed on learning how to observe trees and gather information on them systematically to come to as accurate identification as quickly as possible, rather than learning lots of individual species. You will learn though how to identify the most basic native trees - it is always good to have a few trees under your belt.
We will be outside for a few hours and it will almost definitely be very cold so wrap up VERY well.

Full facebook event here:


Forest Gardens: how to start one and maintain it. A two-part introductory course.

Saturday and Sunday 4th - 5th May 10:00am - 4:30pm. Booking essential. 40 - 80 pounds depending upon income. Lunch included Saturday but not Sunday. At Bedford Fields Community Forest Garden.

What’s a forest garden?
Forest gardens are, on a basic level, orchards (an area with fruit trees) with some extra stuff thrown in. The trees form the backbone of the garden and determine where everything else goes. But soon one understands forest gardens can become whatever you want them to be, mainly by filling in the gaps between the trees. This can then create a space with multiple uses - a therapeutic, social, edible, medicinal, wild-life beneficial resource if done well!

This 2-day course will give you the tools to plan, design, implement and maintain a small forest garden in a northern temperate climate.


Plant identification through patterns: an introduction

3 identical workshops this. Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th May and Saturday 1st June from 10:00am to 4:00pm. These are 3 identical workshops. Each workshop is one day only. So just choose one date Booking is essential for these workshops. Please email to book a place.

This workshop will equip you with the tools for you to start identifying a plant anywhere in the world by looking at 6-8 of the most common plant families and and by learning common-sense methods to systemically gather information about an unknown plant.






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You can visit our Leeds Permaculture Network page here
Follow us on Facebook here.



Bedford Fields
Woodhouse Cliff,
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 .

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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 joined in 2013 and has 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, Lloyd Spencer and Liliya Farzutdinova Lawson, who have taken brilliant photographs that can be seen on the gallery. Take a look at more of Walter’s great work on his new website here: and see his other work at Visit for Lloyd’s work.

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.