Muddy Fork springs forward

by | 11 May 2021 | Health, Local Charity, Retford

Spring has arrived, and Muddy Fork, Retford’s ‘Gardening for Wellbeing’ charity based at the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Idle Valley Nature Reserve, is growing. Obviously the planting season has arrived, but in addition, Muddy Fork is attracting new participants, developing new links and new projects, and, with the help of new charitable grants, making significant improvements to the garden site.
Sowing has started, with seeds currently mostly under cover in one polytunnel; the other will be replaced shortly thanks to grants from the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and Ollerton-based plant and construction company J Murphy and Son. After another winter of gales and inclement weather, the remaining shreds of this structure are in terminal decline and it will be a relief to have a good home for this year’s tomatoes, chillies, etc.
Another big development will be the installation of a rabbit-proof fence, provided through the earlier Lottery COVID-19 fund grant. This should make a huge difference, though since they still harbour a range of wildlife on their site, it is unlikely to be the end of jokes about the foolhardyness of gardening on a nature reserve! A related improvement will be new, wider, gates, to facilitate access by wheelchair users. Other recent grants came from the Co-op Community Fund and local councillors, and a grant from the Screwfix Foundation has funded an upgrade of their ‘Hub’ (a big garden shed, but an essential indoor space for the group). They are so grateful to all their funders. A more ‘professional’ operation not only increases yields but is also an asset in terms of enhancing participants’ wellbeing.
New participants have joined the project as pandemic restrictions have eased, but they still have space for more, and would welcome referrals, including self-referrals, for their sessions on Mondays and Fridays. Enquiries about their new Tuesday afternoon bike project, The Wellbeing Cycle, run in partnership with Retford’s Bike Pedlars, are also welcome. And they have one more new local link – with the Welbeck Farm Shop, where they had a stall at the Easter Market.
This promises to be an exciting growing season for Muddy Fork and as restrictions are lifted they look forward to remaining fully operational this year. They have a committed and hardworking team of trustees, volunteers and participants who have made all the above possible and to whom heartfelt thanks are due. They also remain grateful for the ongoing support we receive from the wider community – so thank you too to all of you reading this.
More information can be found on the Muddy Fork website,, or you can email or leave a message on 01777 567005.