Golden Hill Community Garden

Area characterisation: 

Located in the northern suburb of Bishopston, Bristol. The site was previously unutilized as it was waterlogged and prone to flooding.


To create a community allotment that anyone can visit and is accessible to people with physical and/or mental ill health.


The Golden Hill Community Garden (GHCG) was originally created and run by the Horfield and District Allotment Association, although it is now a Community Interest Company with its own management. Construction began in November 2011, when contractors cleared the area, levelled the ground, built the decking area and created walk ways and raised beds. As the site was waterlogged, French drains were put in place and flooding was prevented by creating a solar powered pump. This drains water from the garden, pumps it to a holding tank at the top of the site and recycles it for watering the allotments.

The garden has a number of sustainable facilities on site such as a composting toilet and a building created out of straw bales. An old overgrown pond was brought back to life and now thrives with wildlife such as frogs, newts and damsel flies. There is also an edible permaculture forest with tough tree species that can survive waterlogged soils which also includes a sensory trail.

Volunteers helped with construction of the gardens and they continue to help maintain the allotments and pond. This community garden is wheelchair accessible and the composting toilet has disabled access. The flowerbeds are raised at different levels for easy access. In partnership with the local parents group ‘Send a Welcome’ the GHCG runs family days for children with special needs and disabilities.

Potential impacts/benefits: 

Potential impacts/ benefits

Challenges addressed

Enhancing sustainable urbanisation

Restoring ecosystems and their functions

Developing climate change mitigation

Developing climate change adaptation

Green space management (Including enhancing/conserving urban biodiversity)  

· Increase accessibility to green open spaces 

· Changing image of the urban environment

· Increase biodiversity

· More energy efficient buildings

· Reduce flood risk

Social justice and social cohesion  

· Social inclusion

· Increase social interaction

Public health and wellbeing

· Increase well being

· Increased cultural diversity and biodiversity

NbS benefits 
  • Reduce flood risk
  • More energy efficient buildings
  • Increase Biodiversity
  • Increased cultural richness and biodiversity
  • Changing image of the urban environment
  • Increase accessibility to green open spaces
  • Increase social interaction
  • Increase well-being
  • Social inclusion
Transferability of the result: 

Can be used in new or old developments to improve well-being and social inclusion.

Lessons learned: 

Green infrastructure can become financially self-sustaining through enterprise schemes.

Such projects benefit from being flexible and being guided by the communities that they work with.


Funding came from multiple sources. A grant of £88,000 came from the Local food Fund from the National Lottery. £1000 from Green capital for the pond. £8,800 from Big Lottery Awards for All scheme to build straw bale building. The community garden is now self-funding through holiday clubs.