Festival of Light in the Garden February 2019

Vision of the garden

The Station Masters’ Community Wildlife Garden is a community space, run by the community, for the community. That’s a lot of community, which is definitely our vision.

Our aim is to protect and enhance local wildlife, promote integrated horticulture and food growing, and to reinvigorate historic and landscape values. We share a deep concern for the promotion of biodiversity and landscape value within urban areas, recognising that places, like people, need spaces to breathe.

Who uses the garden?

The garden is visited by local residents and visitors from far and wide. All enjoy the surprising discovery of its creative and peaceful space in the midst of the busy town of Whitley Bay and alongside Tyne and Wear’s metro system. The regular hum of metro trains arriving and leaving is a background to the tranquillity of the garden.

The garden is regularly used by community groups for activities and horticulture. Our most important visitors are, of course, the array of wildlife including: bees, slow worms, hedgehogs, slaters, birds and the occasional fox.

What happens in the garden?

The Station Masters’ Community Wildlife Garden is host to a wide variety of events promoting a ‘source to senses’ approach to food, eating and the environment. We offer educational workshops such as tree pruning and grafting, growing and planning a garden. We organise volunteering days and gardening bees. The garden is used for children’s Nature Clubs, by local childcare centres and hosts events for cultural events such as the Whitley Bay Film festival. Easter egg hunts, winter light festivals and pumpkin competitions are annual events.

Since June 2013 we have held many community events in the garden including food surplus sharing, barbecues, food demonstrations, planting demonstrations, composting parties and more.

Our food growing area is for ‘demonstration’ to show what is possible, but is also used for flavour tasting and introducing children to the pleasures of freshly picked foods. Each bed is looked after by community caretakers – and there are many people and organisations involved: like the Whitley Bay Scouts, local BME communities, mental health groups, friendship groups and those who have little access to green space.

We also have ‘community plots’ where we grow interesting edibles for community events and general harvesting by those that live locally (for example we have a plethora of tasty herbs!).

We welcome all children in our garden including small children under 12 who are accompanied by adults. There are special children’s beds to encourage children to enjoy the exciting process of planting, growing and of course eating fresh crops. We invite all children, big and small, to come to see Monty the Moth, (all year round) visit the slow worms and come and see how the frogs are getting on (seasonal).

We are supported by the Tyne and Wear Transport Authority (Nexus) and support and promote the assets and value of rail transport and infrastructure to community. You can visit by metro!

We welcome all members of the local community who would like to get involved: to help in the garden – roll up your sleeves and get involved; or just enjoy being within it; sitting and contemplating, exploring, appreciating nature.