The weather has changed and as winter approaches, the plants and animals at the community garden are entering a period of rest and recuperation. And after a very busy season welcoming neighbours and friends to our garden parties, pop-ups and drop-ins, our volunteers need a bit of a rest too! So for now, our Saturday morning cafe and gardening drop-in will cease until next spring. We will be holding gardening work parties and social events throughout the winter. Please see our social media and noticeboards for details. Meanwhile, our regular Gardening for Wellbeing sessions (Thursday 10am – 12noon) continue too. Please contact us if you’d like to get involved.


After a long period of consultation, Countryside Properties Plc have come up with these plans for the community garden and its permanent building.

Please contact with any comments or suggestions.

1818_C23_026D Clay Farm Community Garden illustrative layout 210819 1818_C23_027 Clay Farm Community Garden building location 030819 1818_C23_027-031 Clay Farm Community Garden building 240719 1818_C23_028A Clay Farm Community Garden building layout 210819 1818_C23_029 Clay Farm Community Garden building east and west elevations 010819 1818_C23_030 Clay Farm Community Garden building north and south elevations 010819 1818_C23_031A Clay Farm Community Garden building 210819



Our family friendly GARDEN PARTY socials bring top notch STREET FOOD to your neighbourhood throughout the summer on Thursday evenings between 5.30 and 8pm – those who aren’t tempted by the menu are welcome to bring a picnic and join in the fun!

Dates for your diary are:

11th July, 25th July, 8th August, 22nd August, 5th September & 19th September

BYOB and you may want to bring something to sit on…



On Saturday 2nd February representatives of both Countryside Properties (lead developer for Clay Farm) and Cambridge City Council will be holding a public meeting to discuss the emerging Clay Farm Community Garden on Hobson Avenue. This meeting will take place from 10.30am-midday at the Clay Farm Centre.

Also, on Tuesday 5th February, there will be a drop-in session at the Shed on the Garden site itself, mainly for those who cannot make it to the Saturday meeting. This will be from 3-5pm.

Please do come along if you have any interest in becoming involved with the planning, delivery and running of the garden, or simply to find out what’s going on. It will very useful for Countryside Properties and the City Council to have your thoughts, including relating to a permanent building which is to be provided on site.

If you would like to contact us please email: or


Thankfully, Countryside Properties Ltd and Cambridge City Council agreed, from the very beginning of my involvement in the community garden’s planning and development phases, that for the sake of our soil and wildlife, our active volunteers and all our visitors, we should avoid using chemicals on the garden at all costs. For people who know very little about gardening, or the latest advice about horticulture and health, the techniques we use on site will be unfamiliar. The way we garden is certainly very different from the methods used by the gardeners who tend the plants in the public areas of the new developments. The logic behind our decision is set out in a planning and design statement prepared in November 2017 thus:

Soil preparation:

 5.7 The community garden is on former arable farmland, routinely treated with chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers for decades. The clay soil is in a poor condition, with little life in evidence. In order to create reasonable growing conditions, the soil will need to be enriched and improved.

5.8 After consulting the local community, the need to adopt a regenerative approach is clear.

5.9 A no/low dig system will save time, effort and materials. It is the quickest, easiest and cheapest way for the community to bring small parcels of land into use, whilst ensuring the remaining land remains relatively weed free and attractive. It will be the best solution for improving the impoverished soil and a sustainable way of making the site ready for the newly formed Clay Farm Community Garden Group.

5.10 Using a no dig system will increase yields whilst decreasing the need for further external inputs. Regenerative gardening encourages long-term, systemic, mycorrhizal and bacterial activity in the soil. This can be achieved by first covering and then mulching the land. It also obviates the need to remove any topsoil from the site.

5.12 Considering the uncertain timeline, this is a flexible, cost-effective, safe, environmentally responsible and sustainable approach.

Our garden design consultant Catriona Caldwell put it succinctly in her review of that document:


If you have any questions about the methods I use, please do get in touch.



The Public Home closed its doors for the last time in September 2016. In its time as a temporary community space, it had become a tiny library, a museum, a restaurant, a classroom, a film set, a pub, a conference centre, a café, and home to the Residents in Residence: a number of artists who stayed and worked in Trumpington throughout the lifetime of the project.

Towards the end, the house also acted as a meeting place for the developers, the local authority and other local interested parties, such as Trumpington  Allotment Society and Trumpington Community Orchard. During these discussions it was agreed that, for community garden to thrive, the volunteers who would manage the space and work the land would need a shed, with space to hold meetings, garden gatherings and for storage of equipment.

I worked with the strategic planners and landscape architects, to design a space that would accommodate gardening activities and act as a hub for the emerging community garden group. But delays and personnel changes meant that the project to improve the temporary container building, with a bespoke greenhouse extension, was shelved. The temporary building, which should have arrived in October of 2016, was finally delivered to site in April 2017.

It has taken us a further eighteen months to prepare the site for the arrival of our new polytunnel. This will allow us to grow veg crops throughout the autumn and winter months, and plant seeds for planting out next spring.

If you want to get involved, get in touch!

The Showground site where the Abode development now stands


In a sense, the consultation we “launched” last month, has been taking place for some time. The community garden appears in planning documents dating back to 2010. Certainly, I first started having conversations about the community garden, soon after artists Jeanne van Heeswijk and Britt Jurgensen invited me to work with them, as part of the Habitorials: A Showground of Real Living Public Art Project, in 2014. Some of you may remember the events at the show home on Addenbrookes Road. People ask me:  whatever happened to the neighbourhood pub? And, could we start one up again? Local people often talked into the night there, about their aspirations for the site along the street that had been earmarked for community growing of some kind.

Dave Jackson’s blog post a few weeks ago, described a big party we held on the land, back in 2015. It was after that event that Countryside Properties approached me with the idea of continuing some of the conversations and activities that I’d started in the garden at the show home. We decided that the best way to make that happen would be to provide a temporary building, where the people of Trumpington could gather, to imagine and plan the community garden.  And so, the seed of an idea that would become The Public SHED was sown.

An awful lot has happened since then and, at times, it’s felt like we may never get started. But the community garden is really beginning to take shape. I hope you will enjoy keeping up with the story of the garden here.

Meeting 15th November – agenda

  Clay Farm Community Garden Group

Meeting on Thursday 15th November 7.30-9 pm

at the Public Shed


  1. Welcome, apologies and introductions
  2. Notes of last meeting and matters arising
  3. Custom and practice record 5 mins
  4. Consultation
  • Southern Fringe meeting Oct 23rd
  • Clay Farm Centre opening Oct 27th
  • Neighbours party Nov 29th
  • Pre-Christmas party Dec 11th
  • Christmas Fair Trumpington Meadows School Dec 14th
  • Risk assessments and recording for events
  • Data and structure for final report
  1. Site works – path, soil prep, polytunnel, slabs, C. Uni project
  2. Community Chest grant
  3. Partnerships with Headway and Botanic Garden
  4. “Review of the Year” report
  5.  A.O.B

Date of next meeting Saturday 15th December 10.30-12

CLOSE 9.00