The Big Dig (16th March) and Orchard Barn events

The Big Dig is coming to Ipswich! This is a national project organised by Sustain and others.

Here in Ipswich The People’s Community Garden is hosting and we are getting involved at the Community Orchard, too!
This is a great opportunity to come along and see what we do and have a go at some of it!

Here’s the poster, read on for more details below and for what’s happening at Orchard Barn.

Big dig

You can see where events are being held here: Ipswich Big Dig

You can volunteer with us in Transition Ipswich at the Maidenhall Community Orchard or at several different sites with the People’s Community Garden.
You can register on the site here: Ipswich Big Dig Click on the pink balloons on the map to see details of the different events and for details of how to sign up!

I think it will be OK to come to a few different sites if you wish. I’m quite happy for people to turn up for an hour or so (at Maidenhall Orchard) and then move on to something else. There should be someone around from 10 until about 3pm on the day. The Maidenhall Orchard is just a few yards from the main People’s Community Garden site – use their entrance to gain access to the allotments – see details below.

Here is an excerpt from the details given by Susannah from the People’s Community Garden:

The Big Dig Day – the biggest ever community gardening day

Pull on your boots and roll up your sleeves to take part in the biggest ever community gardening day on Saturday 16 March.

Three communal growing spaces in Ipswich are taking part in this national initiative to get people involved in their local food-growing projects. They are: the People’s Community Garden and Transition Ipswich Community Orchard, on Maidenhall Allotments, and Chantry Walled Garden in Chantry Park.

“There will be a variety of tasks to do at the gardens, to match your preference and level of fitness, so don’t be put off if you are a beginner or are not up to hard digging,” said ActivGardens Development Officer Susannah Robirosa.

“At the People’s Community Garden we need to weed vegetable-growing areas, sow seeds, pot on and transplant young plants, as well as help maintain the wildflower meadows and edible harvest hedging around the Bee Garden.”

“Over at Chantry Walled Garden, we need to create vegetable beds for our students to grow their own veg for the cottage kitchen, where they have their lunch.”

“It’s a really busy time of year, so we need all the help we can get – families with children and people of all ages are welcome to join in. And you might enjoy yourself so much that you join our team of regular volunteers.”

For further information on the Big Dig, with a map and directions of how to get to the participating gardens in Ipswich, please visit

If you would like to get involved, or for further information, please contact Susannah on 01473 261112 or 07530 407302 or email On the day, please come dressed in suitable outdoor clothes and sturdy boots, and bring a packed lunch and water bottle. Fresh water to refill your bottles and hot drinks and will be available at both sites. Please use mobile number for directions if you get lost on the day. We will carry on whatever the weather.

For the People’s Community Garden, please enter via the pedestrian gate on the roadway between Halifax and Wherstead roads. For Chantry Walled Garden, please follow Big Dig signs inside Hadleigh Road entrance to Chantry Park. For more information about both gardens, please visit

The Big Dig is organised by Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. Twenty-four towns and cities comprising 200 gardens across England have signed up to take part.

Orchard Barn

Plenty is happening at Orchard Barn, too. Here are details of their new course in sustainable building.

Are you unemployed, live in Suffolk, and looking for a way
to gain valuable skills based work experience and have the
opportunity for tailored personal development? Or maybe you
know someone who is?

Our first Adult Training course starts on Thursday 14th
March and runs one day a week (Thursdays) for 7 weeks. Over
the duration you will work in a small team supported by
supervised trainers on an exciting live restoration project
at our Rural Skills Centre just outside Stowmarket/Needham

You can find out more from:

Sarah Partridge
Managing Director
OBee Community Interest Company

01473-658193 / 07766-054042

There’s more news too:

OBee are off to Ecobuild next Tuesday (5th March) at Excell. If you’re interested in natural/traditional building – come and see us at the Working with Nature stand. We’re doing 3 Wattle and Daub demonstrations throughout the day.

For me, the best bit is that we are taking and using beautiful clay provided by the guys who dug up the road outside Orchard Barn – truly a ‘waste’ material given a second life!

A big thank-you to everyone who has helped clean up and carry the hazel out of the woods. Hopefully it will inspire others to consider using this versatile, renewable woodland product in the construction industry again?!

Interested in learning some of these natural building skills? Have a look at our one-day courses this summer – very special price of £59 per day.

About Rona

I'm interested in orchards and in improving cycling facilities so that more people feel safe to cycle more of the time. I would also like to help exchange skills for green living. I helped start and continue to help run a community orchard on one of the allotments in south Ipswich. I also run a website on green living - This is a worldwide website and anyone with a skill to share or an insight into green living methods and ideas is welcome to submit articles.
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