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Social and therapeutic horticulture is the process of using plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health, as well as communication and thinking skills. From the safe and secure setting of a garden, people are helped to feel more confident, develop social skills, make friends and learn practical skills that will help them to be more independent.


The benefits of a sustained and active interest in gardening include:

  • Better physical health through exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility

  • Improved mental health through a sense of purpose and achievement

  • The opportunity to connect with others – reducing feelings of isolation or exclusion

  • Acquiring new skills to improve the chances of finding employment

  • Feeling better for being outside, in touch with nature and in the great outdoors 

Growing Young Minds

Community- or place-based efforts to support children’s growth and development - especially in the early learning years - can help children sustain learning outside of a school environment. The Walled Garden is developing opportunities for children to use our space, working with local forest schools to provide activities that stimulate children with practical skills and promote intergenerational learning. In particular, the Walled Garden is a great base to: 


  • help children maintain and even advance their reading skills over the summer months through“pop-up” reading sessions.

  • link learning to health with programs focused nutrition, exercise, and gardening; and healthy activities for family members of all ages.

Employment Skills Development for Youth

Unemployment amongst 16-24 year olds in Somerset is 9.3% compared to a national average of 4.7%. The Walled Garden offers opportunities for young people to gain skills and have training opportunities that help them develop their CVs to go on to other employment. Some of the areas the Walled Garden would like to provide support is with: 


  • Work Experience

  • Interview Practice

  • CV development

  • A Day in Our Life

  • Company Visits

  • Mentor a Student

  • Student Projects

Combating Loneliness 

Older people in our community, especially in rural areas, are more vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation, and this can have a serious effect on health.  According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone.


In Somerset there are over 125,000 residents over the age of 65, equating to 21.1% of the county’s population, a higher proportion than the national average (16.4%). Rural West Somerset has a notably high proportion (29.1%).


In the UK, more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.  Social isolation happens for a variety of reasons, such as becoming older and weaker, leaving the workplace, facing the death of spouses and friends, or through disability or illness. All of this can impact people’s ability to actively participate in community activities, and may lead to depression and a serious decline in physical health and wellbeing.

Which is why our nursery seeks to reach groups who may not have regular access to gardens, and why therapeutic horticulture is so central to everything we do.

If you are a community group that would like to work with the Walled Garden to build these initiatives please get in touch 

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