Kate - Snowy Owl
1st Shepherdswell Brownies
Our Brownie group is called 1st Shepherdswell Brownies. We are based in Shepherdswell, Near Dover, Kent and we meet every week. We love having fun, making new friends, crafts, pack holidays, trips!
As a group we are passionate about the great outdoors and enjoy making habitats for wildlife, hedgehogs, bird feeders etc and planting seeds, flowers and vegetables. (We are not so keen on weeding!)
With this in mind we decided that we wanted to improve the community we live in…we asked several different people if we could help make the area nicer (church, parish council and co—op among others) and the station/ south eastern railway was the one who said yes.
Starting in April 2018, with the help of donations from villagers & local businesses, fundraising & coop community grant we set about transforming the space. 30 girls from 1st Shepherdswell Brownies, 4 leaders, Martin the Stationmaster & various parents and villagers all picked in to help.
The initial building of the garden was completed in July 2018 although it is an ongoing project!
The garden has a small pond and wildlife garden complete with bug hotel & butterfly friendly plants & compost heap. It has recycled tyre planters and a toadstool ring as well as artwork designed by the girls. Last year we had a Brownie scarecrow & Sunflowers too.
We are maintaining the current garden space this year but have added new steps and we are also developing a further wildflower garden and a hydrangea hedge as well as installing planters.
Everyone loves it! The villagers are so supportive and enthusiastic about the work the girls put in and everyone says it makes you smile when you get off the train. It is a lovely welcome to the village for any traveller.
Published in the Sunday Mirror
Every village, town and city will have unused areas that are run down and neglected, but small projects up and down the country are coming to the rescue; using their community spirit and enthusiasm to turn these dull and uninspiring spaces into a mini oasis for everyone to admire.
A great example of the is 1st Sheperdswell Brownies near Dover. They are a community garden who esteemed runners up in the 2018 Cultivation Street competition, sponsored by Calliope®. At one of the group’s weekly meetings they discussed how they would like at improve the community they live in and this snowballed into asking several local organisations if they could volunteer to help revamp their grey spaces into green ones! Their local railway station was delighted at the request and were more than happy for the brownie group to work their planting magic.
Putting their existing craft and gardening skills to good use, the brownie cohort transformed a tired railway space with interesting features including a small pond and wildlife garden—complete with bug hotel & butterfly friendly plants & compost heap. They used recycled tyres as planters and crafted a wood ring of toadstool stools and displayed artwork designed by the girls.
The group’s Snowy Owl, Kate Leech, explains the reaction that they have had to all their hard work, saying “Everyone loves it! The villagers are so supportive and enthusiastic about the work the girls put in and everyone says it makes you smile when you get off the train. It is a lovely welcome to the village for any traveller.”
The Railway garden demonstrates that community gardens don’t have to be huge, a community coming together to green up even the smallest and forgotten grey space can make all the difference—and might just win you prizes in the 2019 Cultivation Street competition too. For more information on entering, visit cultivationstreet.com.