We are Bridewell Gardens, a mental health recovery service based within a walled garden in Wilcote, Oxfordshire. We are delighted to open the gates to the public for our plant sale and Open Days in 2023
Bridewell’s plant sale will be held on Saturday the 29th April 10am – 1pm where you can browse a wide variety of cottage garden plants for sale in our stock bed avenue. Please note – the walled garden will not be open during the plant sale.
The vineyard and walled garden are open to the public during our Open Days on: Sunday 21st May, 18th June, 16th July, 10th September 11am-4pm
What To Expect On An Open Day
Visitors are encouraged to explore all parts of the vineyard and walled gardens. Bridewell produce will be on sale including our acclaimed organic sparkling wine made from grapes grown in the vineyard.
There are our high-quality plants, the product of much hard work and attention as part of the day to day activities of the recovery service, caring for and maintaining the gardens. From our pop-up café you can enjoy the beautiful and peaceful surroundings of the garden, or bring a picnic to relax in the vineyard and make the most of your day out in this idyllic corner of West Oxfordshire.
Dogs on leads are very welcome. The gardens provide the ideal opportunity for children to see a wide range of plants, fruit and veg, spot dragonflies by the pond, and count the chickens roaming the vineyard.
Take the opportunity to speak to Bridewell staff and volunteers to find out more about the recovery service and how you can support Bridewell’s work. Come and be inspired by the gardens tucked away in this beautiful valley and find out what goes on beyond the walls.
A suggested donation of £5 per person.
The Walled Garden,
OX7 3DT (n.b. do check a map before visiting us as sat navs are not reliable.)
About Bridewell Gardens
Bridewell Gardens offers a recovery service for adults who have experienced serious mental illness. The term ‘severe and enduring mental illness’ can cover a broad variety of diagnoses and experiences for example: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and borderline personality disorder.
The approach used at Bridewell Gardens, social and therapeutic horticulture, is proven to be a powerful intervention for people recovering from serious mental ill health and is part of a wider movement of ‘Green’ and ‘Blue’ care. Nature based interventions include a wide range of initiatives using the natural environment (Green care) or water, rivers, lakes and the sea (Blue care) to support people with mental and physical health, social and emotional issues.
There is a growing body of international literature exploring how engagement with nature can help in promoting and restoring health and this evidence is now informing public health interventions, for example in the growth in social prescribing. Sue Stuart-Smith tackles this subject, referencing Bridewell along the way, in her wonderful book “The Well Gardened Mind”.
The typical working day at Bridewell may include any number of different seasonal activities: sowing seeds, watering, weeding, planting, site maintenance, pruning vines, tending veg and ornamental plants, harvesting soft fruit, making jams or chutneys, blacksmithing, willow-weaving, woodwork and caring for Bridewell’s chickens.
We recognise the value of these activities comes in the benefits they can offer for people’s mental and physical health: from improving concentration, providing focus, positive risk taking, opportunities for conversation and socialising with other people, decision making, team work, and learning new practical skills.
Working with nature in the supportive community Bridewell offers, plays a vital role, enabling people to make active steps towards recovery, to managing their mental health and finding seeds of hope in recovery. While next steps might be engaging in new social activities, taking up training, volunteering or paid work, recovery looks different for everyone.
Bridewell Gardens is as an exemplar of green care and social and therapeutic horticulture. We greatly value sharing our experiences with other projects as people seek to develop similar initiatives across the UK.
Bridewell offers hope. In the words of people who have attended the recovery service:
“I feel I benefitted hugely from my time at Bridewell. It made me feel supported, believed, encouraged, boosted, able to be myself. It made me feel safe and understood, fortunate and joyful.”
“Thank you for….all the kind words & interactions, the skills, the laughter, the food, always holding hope for me. You made me, me again but better.”
Bridewell Gardens, The Walled Garden, Wilcote, OX7 3DT
Saturday 29th April– Plant Sale 10am to 1pm: plants for sale in Bridewell’s vineyard (the walled garden will not be open during the plant sale)
Open Days 11am-4pm: Sunday 21st May, 18th June, 16th July, 10th September
Visit Bridewell’s walled garden and organic vineyard. Learn about Bridewell’s work, gardening and working with nature to support people who have experienced serious mental ill health.
Entrance: suggested donation £5
A pop-up café, plants, produce, organic sparkling wine from our vineyard for sale.