Chorlton Community Garden – a project in restoration and renovation

Different tomatoes grown in Chorlton

The online survey is now closed and we thank everyone who took part. Here is a summary of responses.

So, now we are moving foward with funding bids to get started on clearing and restoring the garden and developing a green information and learning hub. The vision is to achieve a high-quality green space in the centre of Chorlton, forming a green hub ensuring that  a wide range of people can benefit from and enjoy the garden for different purposes.

Following our public consultation, the garden will serve as:

  • A Green Hub – a place for sharing and learning about a wide variety of green issues, including wildlife, edible plants of all kinds, and horticultural maintenance
  • A place for meetings and learning, with a range of users from youth gourps to families;
  • A place for arts and culture, hosting, for example, exhibitions, performances, spoken word events
  • A place for wellbeing – to meet, socialise and wind down, to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the urban green space

Principles of the restoration

  • Open and available to all (which may mean restrictions on alcohol,and activities targeted at specific groups)
  • Accessible  (including wheelchair and buggy accessible paths)
  • Preserve existing  trees and shrubs where possible, pruning where necessary
  • Focus on biodiversity and edible planting
  • Ensure enjoyment whatever the season and weather (which may mean providing cover and year round planting options)
  • Provide appropriate furniture (for example, versatile seating, table, lighting, litter bins)
  • Organise proper maintenance of the garden

How will we do this?

We will establish a core group of Friends of Chorlton Community Garden, open to all, whatever their talents. The Core Group will: prepare a timetable for restoration; secure funding required to restore the garden; oversee landscaping and planting; keep the public informed of what is going on and of opportunities to participate; organise a maintenance programme; launch the opening of the Garden.

Principles of how we will operate:

  • Led by and for the community of Chorlton
  • Inclusive and open to all
  • Clear roles and responsibilities
  • Engaging a wide range of people through different means at different stages of the project

If you are interested in joining in please email us and look out for announcements of community activities.

Background to the project

Chorlton Community Garden is a small green space between Chorlton Library and the Sedge Lynn on Manchester Road. 

Before … The space used to be a public toilet. When Manchester Council closed it around 2013, they worked with Chorlton Traders to turn it into a garden for the community. 

Before – toilets

And so… the garden was transformed into a beautiful, colourful oasis for wildlife and Chorlton residents. It became a lovely place to sit and contemplate the world, meet friends, read a book and hold events like plant swaps or open air art displays. Volunteers, supported by Chorton Traders, tended to the garden.

In its splendour

Then…  but over the years wear and tear increased and the garden fell into a state of disrepair during Covid making access a health and safety issue. Manchester Council considered closing it permanently but was agreable, in October 2021, to the community taking over its care.

Then, sorry looking

Now … We have created a Friends of Chorlton Community Garden group, under the wing of Chorlton Voice, in collaboration with Chorlton Community Land Trust and Chorlton Plant Swop amongst others.. We are meeting to discuss how we can repair, develop and enhance the space for all Chorlton residents and visitors.

Thankyou to everyone who completed our online survey last year. Here is a summary of the responses.

Do join our Facebook group

Please email us if you would like to get involved; also visit Our Green Chorlton


May 2022

We have now cleared the garden of all the perennial weeds, sucker trees and debris. We removed the climbng plants along the back fence that were suffocating the fruit trees. We had to remove some diseased fruit trees but have retained those we can. Local charity Betel did a really good job. The garden is now ready for the laying of paths – we just have to decide where to put them! We have removed the tool store and have plans to construct a new one from waste materials or inviting local construction students to make a store from reclaimed brick. Here are some images of the clearance.

Tangle of bramble with oak and chestnut seedlings
half way through – one more Phormium to go
Rotavating the final clearance

June 2022

We had a gtreat day at the end of June inviting members of the community to look at outline plans for the design of the garden; create their own plans; or talk to members of the steering group in the garden itself about the Green Hub. As a result we are now able to go back to our landscape architect partners with a clearer idea of how we want the garden to look: hopefully they will then be able to draw up detailed plans. In the meantime we will be talking to different groups about helping us with the landscaping itself.

Hands-on creating a design
Looking at existing design ideas
Draft chosen design

Please email us if you would like to get involved or receive our newsletter; also visit Our Green Chorlton