Muddy Fork: new mental health charity for Bassetlaw

by | 10 July 2017 | Community facility, Local Charity, Retford, Worksop

Wouldn’t it be great if we felt good all day and every day? Our physical and mental health is important and we all deserve the best of health. This can be hard to achieve, and this is where Muddy Fork, Bassetlaw’s newly established mental health charity, can help. Muddy Fork, based near Retford on the Idle Valley Nature Reserve, supports people with mental health challenges to become active and involved in volunteer gardening and conservation. This has been shown to relieve anxiety and depression, reduce isolation and build self-respect and social confidence.

Muddy Fork is making a difference and wants you to know about it, and for you to tell your family and friends. Mental ill-health is incredibly common, and everyone experiences it at some point in their lives or knows someone who does — even though we don’t talk about it much. Muddy Fork helps people in these times of over-stretched resources.

Gardening for good health and wellbeing is becoming an increasingly recognised addition to NHS treatment options, sometimes even replacing medication. Local GP Dr Andrea McFarlane said: “It’s invaluable to have this wonderful and evidence-based service in our locality; I cannot recommend them highly enough.”

Gardening appeals to a wide range of people, both young and old. There are opportunities to connect with others, feel less isolated, become more active, experience the joys of nature, develop new skills and gain confidence to share that knowledge with others. With Muddy Fork there’s traditional willow work, growing fruit and veg, conservation projects and bee-keeping activities, too

Paul, a member of the project, said: “I love the environment and the wildlife at Idle Valley, there’s always a job for me to do. The activities here are meaningful, so it helps me to feel worthwhile and gives me a much more positive outlook. This project is a really important life-line for me.”

The garden is dry in summer, rather boggy in winter and is regularly visited by wildlife which clearly enjoys eating the fruit, vegetables and salad. Throughout the year, fresh organic produce is supplied to the visitor centre café, and honey and baskets are sold in the wildlife shop. The garden is located in an idyllic spot with some quirky places to find some peace and have a quiet five minutes if needed. Wildflowers and birdsong are abundant, (not to mention the snails!) with regular sightings of kingfishers, stoats, deer and rabbits to lift the spirits.

Amidst this wonderful nature, the Muddy Fork team offer dedication, warmth and understanding, from the first welcome, through to the achievement of better, healthier, more balanced lives.

Everyone is welcome to visit and find out more about Muddy Fork and how they are growing. Anyone who is experiencing difficulties with their mental health can join the wellbeing garden project for free, so call or email first to arrange an informal chat or visit. You can find out more on the website or you can call 07421 356717 or email