In July 2020 work began to create the Milford Community Green Space, from 2 very overgrown allotments above the former Holy Trinity Church on the A6, with the aim to provide a green area for the Milford School pupils during schooldays and, outside of school hours, a space for other community activities. Now after just two years school classes are being undertaken on the space three times a week, including Maple View school in Mackworth, as well as Milford School and many community wide events are now being run. A huge amount of work has been undertaken by volunteers from Milford to completely transform the area and provide a wide range of facilities, as described below.
Green space volunteers hard at work, September 2020.
In the last 6 months of 2020 an army of volunteer Milford residents cleared mountains of undergrowth and lorry loads of rubbish from the site, built a sturdy entrance ladder and fence (materials provided by Belper Town Council (BTC)), laid bark chip paths and, with the help of the school children, planted fruit trees (also provided by BTC) and raspberries.
In 2021 facilities were added to the site at a breathtaking pace. Even in the lockdown work continued, with volunteers working alone or as single households. By March 2021 a new shed, a wigwam, a children’s story telling area, a composting toilet and hand wash station, 3 raised vegetable beds, a water feature and children’s kitchen had been added. In April 2021 a grant was received from Belper Town Council to improve the site further, including a fire pit, water storage facility, site stabilisation, native hedge and chickens. By September 2021 3 chickens had been installed in a large coop and run made by one of the parents, and by November 2021 a large Fire Pit was installed after 4 months’ work (see article in Derby Evening Telegraph, here.). In December 2021 we held a Christmas community event there, with over 30 people in attendance round the fire, eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine.
The GreenSpace was part of the judging route for Milford’s 2021 gold award winning entry into the East Midlands in Bloom competition and so impressed were the judges that they gave the GreenSpace a separate discretionary award (see here) in September 2021.
Also in September 2021, we took over the tenancy of an adjacent allotment (choked with weeds) and started incorporating it into the GreenSpace. By December 2021 we had already cleared half of it of mountains of weeds and rubbish and converted it into a children’s maze, complete with beech hedges, bark chip paths and an amelanchier tree centrepiece.
By May 2022 the new allotment had been completely cleared and a wildflower garden and “Tinker zone” for the children to build dens etc. created and a “pallet bench” along the entire Tinker Zone length has since been added. A grant was obtained from East Midlands in Bloom for an 8 seater bench, which was been put among the wildflowers.
We have also in 2022 added a giant solitary bee house, installed a pond, planted a native tree hedge with 140 tree whips from the woodland trust, strengthened the raised vegetable beds with railway sleepers, improved the composting facilities and made permanent improvements to many of the paths round the site with weed matting, gravel, and chipped bark.
The biggest project in 2022 though was the installation of a new 8ft x 10ft shed in September, following a successful grant application for £1000 from Derbyshire County Council (see report here for more detail). The picture above shows it after being painted and then “decorated” by the Greenspace children during the Apple Day activities on the site also in September. We have since received further £305 grant from Belper Town Council which allowed us to extend the eaves and put shelving inside. This new shed has allowed us to store many more materials to broaden the range of activities we can offer the children and the rest of the community. The extended eaves allow the children to shelter from the rain and store coats in the dry.
We have been keen to increase the number of community wide events held on the Greenspace and in 2022 we held three very successful ones – Apple Day in October (report here), a Bonfire Night in November (report here) and a Christmas Fuddle in December (report here.)
The Milford Community GreenSpace committee was formed in November 2020 to co-ordinate activities and move the project forward. They produce regular update newsletters, which are published on this site, links below:
We are still very keen for more volunteers to come and help with improvements of the site, the list of current projects is shown below. Anyone interested in helping out please contact Kate on 07794268059, or just turn up with gardening gloves and rough clothes – we have plenty of tools on site. Work parties take place all year round every Monday 10.15am – 12am, and additional ones are often organised for specific larger tasks.
- Lay permanent weed matting paths covered in chipped bark/gravel round the site
- Add green roof matting to one half of shed and water butts and drainpipes to the other side.
- Put weed mat and chipped bark down on path between former raspberry patch and fire pit
- Finish construction of pallet wall and shelving above tinker zone
- Replace mud kitchen table
- Construct pallet wall including chalk boards and shelving boxes where raspberries bed was
- Finish off tyre planter
- Hand gel holder in toilet and outside chicken coop
- Raised platform for chicken coop to keep it cleaner from rain hitting ground
- Slatted tray to fit below noticeboard for veg to go in so people help themselves
- Door for toilet that can be unlocked from outside
- Outdoor storage unit for things like woodchip bags, wheelbarrow that are fine outside but nicer tidied away (a bit like a wheelie box unit?)
- A fixed tray for a boot wash
- Grip tape on steps (it’s in the shed)
- Paint the picnic table for winter protection
- Fix the wooden play units somewhere
- Step building on paths
- Lay weed matting on paths and cover with woodchip.