BRETTON GREENS at the Bretton Gardening Club

On March 8th we had our first presentation of Bretton Greens at the weekly Better Bretton gardening club.

In this initial meeting, our Artist/Researcher Samantha Penn led a mapping exercise in which everyone was invited to contribute their opinions about the green spaces in North Bretton.

We gathered ideas according to different categories, and here are the results:

1. Things we like
Colour, wildflowers, Grimshaw Wood, woodland corners, nest boxes, spring bulbs, open green spaces, footpaths, listening to the birds, flowers to attract the bees, cycling, running, bee friendly (bee hives), encouraging hedgehogs, obstacle course

2. Things we dislike
Underpass after dark, dumped mattresses, no one uses basketball court, the stream used to run, tipping of garden water in nature reserve and landscape areas, path and grass could have more plant life, not enough plant life, the old paddling pool has been infilled, soil is very hard (Cornbrash soil)

3. Old things to bring back
Red hand gang, cleanliness, lights, Roman Ruins, link to Historic UK Forest Network, spaces intended for peaceful community use neglected, restore woodlands, area used to be maintained far better, better landscape maintenance, improve paths (for cycling), used to be logs to site on outside Stumphall (removed because kids outside homes)

4. New things to bring in
upcycling, more people, walking, cycling, enjoying “being there” (and not just passing through), lighting in underpass, trail markers, bird tables, education points, raised bank would make a good garden, murals, perennial plants, geological trail, planters, plants which use a lot of space (Bergenia)
– a wind-turbine in former paddling pool site
– re-open landscape belts along A47
–  enhance links to wider Midland Forest Network,
– focal point and/or cafe to bring life to Bretton park,
– what is the history of the stone? could it be a soapbox stone?
– in Todmorden Lancashire they planted vegetables for people to pick,
– somewhere in Manchester people found a little wasteland area and turned it into a little community gardener with a rest area, flower bed and vegetable garden,
– New York has the statue of Liberty can Bretton have a historical monument or statue


And we began to pin point, on a printed map of the area, the spaces which kept cropping up in discussion:


From this point we set out on a walk on around the area to take a closer look at these different green spaces and hear from the people who know them best:

During the walk we got to learn more about more about the local area and its many histories from one another, seeing a fifth category emerge:

5. Local information

Factory units in North Bretton have now turned into warehouses, there are Roman Ruins on Bretton way, John Clare wrote about Swaddywell Pit (located close by) in his famous poem The Lament of Swordy Well and in near-by Helpston there is the John Clare museum, there are lots of different kinds of soil in Peterborough, the lowest point in the UK is in Peterborough, Peterborough famous for bricks (London Brick Company), there have been many recent public events in Grimshaw Wood, WW1 Airfield nearby (Westwood)



We will host another walk about on 15th March for the wider Bretton community, please get in touch is you are interested to join by contacting Katy Hawkins on

Thank you!


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