Play Area Survey March 1, 2020

Play Area Development: Visitor Input

We are planning to redevelop the area and would value your input. Please answer the questions below and add anything else that you think is relevant.

Thank you so much for your input.

Find out more here.


Volunteering matters March 1, 2020

Martineau Gardens Volunteer: Aubrey


Aubrey – back in the new garden area he has helped to create

This is Aubrey, a volunteer on our Therapeutic Horticulture Programme. His story is one of incredible challenges, met and overcome with resilience and determination. In six months, he has become  a valued team member and has made huge changes in his personal life.

Aubrey hasn’t had it easy and he admits to making choices when he was younger, that he now regrets. He had a difficult childhood, with lots of setbacks.

A little over six months ago, Aubrey came for a trial volunteering session at Martineau Gardens, after facing rejection at other places, he describes a very different experience. He chatted to people, felt at ease and really believed that he would fit in. He wasn’t wrong; a few days later, he got a call from the office ….

“I thought they’d changed their mind and didn’t want me. I was gutted, but instead they asked for my help. They had been let down and needed some digging doing straight away on a new garden. They needed me!”

So Aubrey and some other volunteers came in and saved the day, they worked incredibly hard, laughed and dug and chatted and made friends in the mud. A regular and much loved Martineau Gardens’ volunteer since that day in the Courtyard Garden, Aubrey describes how even on days when he really doesn’t feel like getting up, he still comes in, because he knows he will feel better afterwards. Coming on the bus, he says he feels different – there’s an excitement and real sense of something good about to happen and at the end of the day he’s tired but feels really lifted to have done something that helps.

It’s hard to hear Aubrey talk about the things that make a difference to him when he volunteers at Martineau Gardens. He talks about being shamed at school because he needed help with reading and writing. Teachers and students joined together and laughed at him in front of everybody. He says:

When I’m working here, Stewart notices if I don’t know how to do something. I don’t even have to ask. He shows me without making me feel stupid. That matters.

Just before Christmas, we got the best news … Aubrey was assessed as being able to have his own supported flat. He and we are so proud and that was even before he told us he had two job offers.  A new job means he might have to leave Martineau Gardens, but Aubrey will always be part of the Martineau Gardens family; if we could, we would have given him a job. He said:

“Martineau Gardens has given me hope.  Hope that I can get a legal job and never have to be looking over my shoulder again.”


Making a difference – workshops for wellbeing at Martineau Gardens March 1, 2020

If you know Martineau Gardens then we’re sure like us, you feel the intrinsically restorative qualities of our beautiful, natural environment. Our Therapeutic Horticulture programme has been running successfully for many years and we wanted to explore other ways the Gardens could help improve wellbeing. Supported by Bupa UK Foundation, we have been able to offer, without charge, creative courses to people who are 40-65 years and are experiencing self-identified problems with their mental health. The workshops run over five mornings each, and use the Gardens as inspiration. Mosaics (participants and artworks pictured above) photography have run, and planned for the future are creative writing, Tai chi and creative gardening.  Our aim is that participants and through them, their friends and families will carry with them, in the words of one our volunteers ‘the big green hug that is Martineau Gardens’ and will continue to visit this restorative space for a long time to come.

We look forward to the time when we can run the remaining courses —please check our website for updates.

Thank you Ray March 1, 2020

Ray Bowers

When John Gale retired as our Volunteer Beekeeper, Ray Bowers and Sam Walker took on the mantle, tending our bees, running beekeeping courses and the Honey Show. Ray has stepped down from his role here at the Gardens.  We hugely appreciate his enthusiasm and friendly disposition  – tackling live radio interviews, managing the Honey Show and, alongside Sam, producing honey made by the Martineau Gardens’ bees. All the best to Ray.

Photocredits: Nos 1,4: Lynsay Smith; 2: Felicity McCabe and 3: S Hill-Daniel


Joyce Rimmer March 1, 2020

Snowdrops in the Courtyard Garden

The Gardens are waking up again with the approach of the new season. People keep these Gardens going, there are so many who share their time, knowledge and support with us and so it is with sadness we learned of the passing of Joyce Rimmer, a much-loved supporter of Martineau Gardens for many years.

Caroline Hutton (former Director of Martineau Gardens) said:
Joyce  provided us with the beginning of how to communicate with funders and supporters about what Martineau Gardens did with our volunteers.  It was radical and authentic.  She spent time with the volunteers, watched how the staff behaved and listened to what the volunteers said.  She wrote in a professional, yet immediate way which shared the quality of what was happening.  There were no forms, no attempt to struggle through the difficulties of how words mean different things depending on the context, your tone or accent.  We sent the report to funders for as meany years as we could.  
The history of Martineau Gardens is peppered with people who used their intelligence, skills and empathy for the benefit of the land and the people connected with it.  Thank you Joyce.
Stewart Holmes (Therapeutic Horticulturalist for Martineau Gardens) said:
‘One of the most gentle people I’ve ever met, gentle but quietly knowledgeable – she knew what was going on, she knew how this place worked, she was very intuitive about what happened here and understood the value of what we did’


Published in March 2020 in The Guardian,  is an obituary to Joyce Rimmer, written by Rachel Baird. Click here to read this in full:

Moth news February 2, 2020

Thanks to the dedication of our wildlife volunteers, Brian and Andrew Martineau Gardens has an impressive list of moth species identified—the total now stands at 398 – almost 400! We normally find at least ten new species each year, so we should easily reach 400 this year.


Lending a hand December 11, 2019

A team of community spirited staff from Avinson Young spent a full day at Martineau Gardens recently, volunteering their time, as part of their Day of Giving. The team worked hard indoors and outdoors helping to spruce up the Gardens. They painted the Pavilion interior, chipped wood and then refurbished woodland paths with the chippings and a huge amount of hardcore was barrowed into the keder house, our new growing space in the Pavilion Garden.

We appreciate all the hard work and the friendliness of them team who spent the day with us.

There are a range of ways your company can make an impact in our local community though supporting Martineau Gardens, we welcome partnerships. Click here to find out more.

Festive opening December 5, 2019

Season greetings to all!

Martineau Gardens is open Monday to Saturday from 10am until 4pm (closed bank holidays) – over the Festive Period our seasonal opening ours are as follows:

Friday 20 December 2019, closing at 4pm and re-opening on Monday 6 January 2020.

We wish all our supporters, visitors and volunteers a very Happy New Year.

Beautiful fungi December 4, 2019


The wet weather has brought out plenty of fungi this Autumn. A beautiful photograph of Upright coral fungus (Ramaria stricta) taken by Wildlife Recorder Andrew Curran is displayed here.


Sleeping out to bring hope and raise funds November 25, 2019

A courageous band of children (from the Woodcraft Youth movement) aged 10 – 12 years old slept out until midnight at Martineau Gardens, braving the elements of a wintery night to raise awareness and funds for two charities: Martineau Gardens and St Basils. The group built cardboard box shelters, (equipped with their sleeping bags), and talked about the issues of homelesness and what it feels like to have a home, whilst cooking food on a campfire.  At time of writing, the children and their families and friends have already raised £521 including gift-aid collections – please do consider boosting the impact of what they have achieved so far, by donating to this short 3 week appeal.

Donate to the sleeping out appeal:

Martineau Gardens is hosting the joint appeal, through its on-line donation platform, LocalGiving to raise money for both Martineau Gardens and St Basils.

Please donate on-line to the appeal here to ensure that the money goes direct to this specific appeal: www.



If you would prefer to donate in person by cash or cheque, please mark you donation very clearly as ‘Sleep Out’ Appeal

The appeal fund will stay open until Thursday 12 December 2019.

**Please note: donations made to this appeal will be split directly between the two charities (including gift-aid collections).  **

About Martineau Gardens and St Basils

Here at Martineau Gardens we aim to provide a safe and welcoming space which enables adults, young people and children to connect with nature and improve their wellbeing. Our preventative work also supports socially isolated and vulnerable people, through gardening and more, to help people feel good about themselves. Sometimes, having somewhere to go, that feels like ‘home’, can give hope to someone feeling desperate and lonely.   Find out more about what we do through Therapeutic Horticulture here at Martineau Gardens.

St Basil’s is one of the largest organisations working with young people who are homeless or at risk in the country and is the largest regional organisation of its kind. You can find out more about St Basil’s here.