Home » Pembroke’s ‘secret garden’ set to receive new lease of life thanks to Grove residents
Community Health Pembrokeshire West Wales

Pembroke’s ‘secret garden’ set to receive new lease of life thanks to Grove residents

Mike, Robin, Jamie and Manfred Reuter

A PEMBROKESHIRE housing estate has received one of the best Easter presents imaginable after a plot of land which has lain barren for over 40 years has been handed over to residents to run as a community garden. 

Residents on the Grove Estate, Pembroke, have been holding discussions with Pembrokeshire County Council officials for well over a year in their attempt to ensure that the council-owned plot could be utilised for community use. 

And this week, despite being warned that the process could take well over a year to finalise, the residents were told that the land is now theirs. 

“This really is a dream come true for so many people on the Grove Estate,” commented Robin Nicholson, who has been one of the key instigators in the project. 

“We started the process back in February 2022, knowing that the vast majority of residents living on the estate were very supportive of the idea.  

“But we suspected that it was going to take a very long time to sort out. 

“To suddenly be told that we can now start tending the land really is a dream come true.” 

The south-facing field, surrounded by mature trees, extends to around half an acre in length and approximately 30 meters wide. 

The Pembrokeshire Herald visited the site on Easter Sunday morning, when residents were discussing the most appropriate crops which could be planted in time for this year’s harvest. 

“This is a real godsend for the Grove estate,” commented resident Jamie Hoy. “Being able to come out here to tend the land is going to be so therapeutic to so many people.” 

The county council has confirmed that half of the plot will be used as a community garden for residents of the Grove estate while the remaining half will accommodate three individual allotments for private use. 

Three water containers are to be positioned at the top of the community garden that will operate an irrigation system while a number of raised beds will be built enabling the elderly and people with mobility issues to join in with the gardening project. Two polytunnels will be installed as well as a shed for storage and numerous benches where people can sit for reflection. 

The Grove estate comprises around 70 properties and early indications suggest that the vast majority of residents are eager to take part in the community garden. This includes a large number of children and young people. 

In addition to the main plot, residents are also being given the opportunity to cultivate an adjoining piece of land as a fruit garden. 

The fruit garden site

“The options available to us are considerable as the land is so well sheltered and south facing,” said resident Mike Hodgson. 

“The first thing is to hire a rotavator so we can start preparing the soil. We’re hoping to get this done in the next two weeks so that we can get on with some spring planting as soon as possible.” 

Crops will include potatoes, cabbages, carrots, leeks, beetroot, tomatoes, rhubarb, peas and broad beans while the fruit orchard will include damsons, gooseberries and raspberries. The residents are also considering including some beehives to help with the pollinating, 

“You only get out of a garden what you put into it, but so many people have already said how much they’re looking forward to getting involved. We’re confident that it’s going to be a huge success but also a huge asset to the Grove. 

“This is a real secret garden that here for the whole estate to enjoy.”