Milford Community GreenSpace

 

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. Four years later 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 was undertaken by volunteers from Milford to completely transform the area (especially in the first 2 years) 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.

Wigwam

Raised vegetable beds

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.

Children having a Forest School class in the fire pit, with head teacher Cathy Kinsella and the GreenSpace committee

The GreenSpace was part of the judging route for Milford’s 2021 and 2023 gold award winning entries into the RHS East Midlands in Bloom competition and so impressed were the judges that they gave the GreenSpace separate discretionary awards (see here) in September 2021 and in September 2023 (see here).

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 at the entrance to the site.

Wildflower garden July 2022

We 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 received a 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.

Giant solitary bee house 

New chicken coup and run for GreenSpace

In 2023 we added a Pallet Wall to divide the site and provide shelves for the children to store precious things, put a sedum green roof on the new shed and drainage to water butts on both sheds. We also added a wormery and wildlife pond.

Volunteers admiring the new sedum roof of the shed

The biggest project in 2023 was the creation of The Peace Garden by the entrance.

The Peace Garden

We have been keen to increase the number of community wide events held on the Greenspace. In 2022 we held three – Apple Day in October (report here), a Bonfire Night in November (report here) and a Christmas Fuddle in December (report here) and in 2023 four – an Open Day in July (report here), Apple Day in October (report here), Bonfire Night (report here) and a Christmas Fuddle (report here.)

Milford Apple Day 15th October 2022

Milford Bonfire Night 4th November 2022

Winter Fuddle on Greenspace 17th December 2022

Open Day 2nd July 2023

Steps fabricated for the Green Space

We will soon be publishing our programme of community wide events for 2024 – watch this space!

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:

October 2020, December 2020, January 2021, March 2021, April 2021, September 2021, November 2021, February 2022, July 2022, September 2022  October 2022, February 2023, April 2023. July 2023 and November 2023. We also have a Facebook page, here.

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, and it’s good fun. Work parties take place all year round every Monday 10.15am – 12am, and additional ones are often organised at weekends for specific larger tasks

Current Projects

  • Paint the Pallet Wall in bright colours and paint the shelves of the Shed of Inspiration green and red
  • Extend the gravel path to the composting toilet
  • Plant perennial plants all round the Greenspace ready for Britain in Bloom – along either side of the new gravel path, in front bed by entrance ladder, in rockery between the two sheds and in bed by bench at top of the sensory maze.
  • Plant potatoes and onions
  • Prepare proper Milford Community Greenspace sign for the Peace Garden, overlooking Church Steps, ready for Britain in Bloom
  • Burn mountain of ivy extracted from back wall
  • Plant potatoes and onions.
  • Replace pond liner and add frogspawn.
  • Replace the composting toilet screen with new pond liner screen.
  • Reconnect the drainpipes leading into the water butt by the Shed of Inspiration
  • The wigwam to be strapped together at the top.
  • Create mosaic tabletop.
  • Fix a holder and hand sanitizer unit on the side of the toilet.

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