What is forest gardening?

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Welcome to the Bangor Forest Garden

The BFG project was started in 1998 on a quarter hectare field at the University of Wales, Bangor’s research farm in North West Wales. The University have very kindly given us use of the field to create an example of this agroforestry system. The BFG complements the agroforestry research that is conducted by the University at Henfaes.

The BFG project has been run entirely by volunteers from the local and student communities, and we’ve transformed the site enormously in this time. We’ve repaired traditional slate fencing and dry stone walls, installed footpaths suitable for wheel chairs, put in benches and arbours, raised beds, compost loos, herb spirals. Of course, there are the plants as well. We have planted dozens of different useful plant species.  Some of these are traditional fruits and vegetables while others are quite unusual. We encourage biodiversity by creating habitat piles, having wild areas, encouraging native species, not being too ‘tidy’ and having a couple of ponds.

Over the years the BFG team has been developing our work in the community. We have had frequent sessions with groups of adults with learning difficulties. They have enjojed coming to the garden and really got a lot out of growing food. We have also worked with probationers and young offenders who spent some of their community service with us, mostly doing green woodworking projects. We have also run art workshops with kids, open days for the public, and occasional short courses. Through the wide ranging activities and the ethos underlining the BFG, we aim to develop the beneficiaries’ key skills in communication, teamwork and people skills, alongside care for the environment and sustainable lifestyles. The great thing about forest gardening is the wide range of themes that it encompasses – fresh varied food, health, activity, countryside issues, climate change, biodiversity, agro-ecology, crafts, horticulture…… There’s something for everyone.

We get together on site on the second Sunday of each month from 11.30am onwards. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more.

The great thing about forest gardening is the wide range of themes that it encompasses.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Millennium Development Goals all tackle the grand challenges of our time that require local small scale action. If we are to respond to these challenges then we need to find solutions that are easy and acceptable to all. Forest gardening is one way of contributing to this.

Forest gardening involves growing a multi-storey arrangement of perennial and self seeding plants to provide food and other products. It is something that most people can do. It needn’t take much work, and can be adapted to fit in to sites as small as a back yard or as big as several hectares. If required, forest gardens can accommodate intensively managed areas.  They can be created in the grounds of schools or care homes, farms, parks or in your own garden at home.

Forest gardening can help to address many of the modern lifestyle issues that regularly make front-page news by:

  • Widening the variety of fresh food in the diet, especially berries, fruit and leaves.
  • Reducing packaging.
  • Reducing food miles.
  • Promoting biodiversity.
  • Using no fertilisers – nutrients are recycled by composting, using N fixers, hyperaccumulators and mycorrhizae to access more nutrients naturally.
  • Using no pesticides – great biodiversity means that pest outbreaks are not so severe.
  • Encouraging a more active lifestyle, which combats obesity and depression.

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Environment Wales: Amgylchedd Cymru is a partnership initiative between the National Assembly for Wales and the voluntary sector which contributes to sustainable development by supporting voluntary action for protecting and improving the environment.

Hanson Environment Fund Logo

‘The project has been funded by the Hanson Environment Fund – one of the largest set up under the landfill tax credit scheme.’

Awards For All Wales Logo
Big Lottery Fund Logo
Enfys Logo
New Opportunities Fund Logo
Niace Logo

University of Wales, Bangor Logo

University of Wales, Bangor

Permaculture Association Logo

The BFG Project is supported by The Permaculture Association (Britain)

British Trust for Conservation Volunteers BTCV logo

An Independent Group associated with BTCV, a registered charity.