Stoke Lane, Westbury-on-Trym

Stoke Lane in Westbury-on-Trym has a great range of food shops, cafés, a prize-winning delicatessen, restaurants, three hairdressers, a card shop and even a little jewellers. But what have all these shops and businesses got in common? They all supported the Open Day of the Stoke Lane Community Garden on 9 June by donating some fantastic raffle prizes.

The Stoke Lane Community Garden project started in September 2011, with a leaflet drop to local households and businesses in the area. This was followed up with an information stall outside Venue 35 on Stoke Lane. Over 30 volunteers put their names down to be involved in the project.

Many of the local shop workers helped clear the site of weeds and rubbish during September and October last year, especially the Co-op workers who came out in force one Sunday afternoon after work. Those local businesses that couldn’t give their time offered tea and biscuits instead, and muddy boots were often to be seen outside Venue 35 as volunteers popped in for a cuppa.

Venue 35 provided refreshments and entertainment for children during the Open Day on 9 June via their sun terrace, which opens out onto the Community Garden. A hamper of fresh fruit was donated by the famous young James the Greengrocer. Valentinos Restaurant donated a romantic meal for two, and Toni the chef is often to be seen picking fresh herbs from the garden.

Future events will include willow weaving, herb identification and cooking with unusual vegetables – if the slugs haven’t eaten them all!

This project could not have been the great success it is without the help and support of the local businesses.

Mary Rivers tells us how the project got started…

  • I have an allotment on the Stoke Lane site. I overheard a conversation between Janet Hathaway from the Allotment Department and our field rep about how they couldn’t let the ‘lost plot’.
  • Janet asked if there something else that could be done with it involving the community.
  • I volunteered to have a go at finding an alternative use.
  • I approached Sustainable Westbury-on-Trym (SUSWOT) who were interested in the project and I also went to places like Horfield Community Orchard to get some ideas about the logistics, time commitment etc.
  • SUSWOT then did a leaflet drop to local houses and had an information stall outside Venue 35 and we were away!

For a longer version of the story so far, see the September-October issue of Bristol’s local food update: 

For more information, contact SUSWOT:


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