Things are changing, and growing, around Transition Town

SUSAN OLIVER catches up with developments at Croydon Transition Town after an active 2014

Transition Town CroydonCroydon Transition Town celebrated its second birthday in November, after its members helped to create community gardens in Wandle Park, Park Hill Park and at Ramsey Court in 2014, while continuing to work on one of their earliest projects, the Thornton Heath Rec Garden. We hosted two Give and Take Days (first created by Veolia, the council’s waste contractors) and helped Once Upon a Time Nursery in Thornton Heath to start their own fruit and veg garden.

Andrew Kennedy created a website for the group, and has started to post our minutes online.

Most recently, we visited Growing Communities, a veg-box scheme in Hackney.

The community gardens in Croydon help to revitalise an area with a spirit that money can’t buy, allowing people to make connections within a neighbourhood. Here’s a little more detail:

  • Wandle Park – Led by Tom Smith, the park’s volunteer and learning officer, this garden has quickly become an integral part of the park and contributed to the July summer festival. Volunteers have been able to access food growing courses and mentoring sessions via EcoLocal, a Sutton-based charity.
  • Park Hill Park – Under the enthusiastic leadership of Friends of Park Hill Park, this is inside a walled garden and is going great guns. One part is dedicated to a kitchen garden and the other part is a memorial for Cicely Mary Barker, the artist who lived nearby and became world-famous for her Flower Fairy books. The memorial garden will be part of the Croydon Heritage Festival in June.
  • Ramsey Court – This is a small patch located right next to the Croydon Food Bank. It got off to a late start but we hope to do even more this year with an aim to provide produce to the Food Bank.
  • Thornton Heath Rec – Created with the Friends of Thornton Heath Rec, this initiative has grown in enthusiasm and scope. Apple trees planted in 2013 have been carefully tended over the year and are growing well. There are plans to install raised beds and host a spring tea.
Helen Buckland: has help steer the first two years of Croydon Transition Town

Helen Buckland: has help steer the first two years of Croydon Transition Town

To participate in any of these gardens, please see our website, or email us at

We want to thank out-going chairman Helen Buckland and secretary John Clingan for their work over the year. Our new chairman is Andrew Dickinson and our new secretary is Catherine Graham.

We are always looking for new members and ideas.

We are also always grateful for donations of plants, particularly rhubarb crowns, fruit canes and seedlings in the spring.

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at

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This entry was posted in Cicely Mary Barker, Environment, Gardening, Susan Oliver, Thornton Heath, Transition Town, Wandle Park and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Things are changing, and growing, around Transition Town

  1. catswiskas says:

    Thank you for a very interesting article and thank you to Helen and John for ‘carrying the baton’ during the first two laps of the ‘relay’. You have helped start something really worthwhile that will hopefully grow and grow.

    I’m so happy to hear about the project at Thornton Heath Rec. I spent most of my childhood in that park. It was well-kept and I remember there was a uniformed park keeper and a lady who supervised the play area. We always felt safe there and would often stay all day until it got dark. I revisited a few years ago and felt sad to see its decline; it felt a bit lonely there, even in the middle of the day, and it looked neglected.

    I am looking forward to revisiting sometime soon to see what CTT have been up to. If I have any plants or seedlings to spare, I will donate. (I guess the best way to do this would be to go along on a Sunday?).

    I am involved in the Sensible Garden project at South Norwood. It has been great fun and very rewarding. The challenge has been to get more locals involved – a lot of interest and appreciation has been expressed but I don’t think folk realise they can come and tend the garden whenever they like. If anyone reading this lives near the garden, we would love it if you would just water it during hot spells, weed it whenever needed, cut the grass or clear litter as you pass by. If you have any spare plants or seedlings, just plant them and see what happens. Everybody is welcome to get involved! The more cared for the garden looks, the more people will respect and love it.

    I look forward to seeing more of these community gardens springing up everywhere. Let’s make Croydon greener!

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