Until the mid-1970’s the site was the sewage works for Penistone. After that it became a training area for long-term unemployed people – which is when the two greenhouses were erected. The site then became a commercial nursery, which closed at the end of 2006 and the site fell into dereliction.
Handed in trust to Penistone and District Community Partnership, the partnership decided to continue the gardening tradition at the site, and to develop it as a community garden.
The partnership also secured land directly over the on the south side of the river Don. This area is a nature haven, and work has been undertaken there to improve access and to create a picnic area.
On the north side, restoration work began on the garden in the summer of 2008 with the building and planting of the Penistone Physic Garden – a demonstration garden of medicinal, culinary, and other useful plants. The aim of this garden is to help re-connect people with the earth and to teach about the useful wild plants that are all around us.
In November 2009 new volunteers met together and started work on the clearing of the central part of the site, next to the Physic Garden, to create new raised beds for growing vegetables.
Clearance and repair work also took place in the main greenhouse, where seeds are now sown and seedlings raised before being planted out in the beds.
In more recent times polytunnels have been restored and riverside beds have been dug to increase the amount of growing space. The site has provided a dedicated team of volunteers with opportunities not just to grow food, but to get involved more widely in the restoration and development of the site. A wide range of talents and skills have been needed to harvest water, re-skin polytunnels and restore the greenhouse to full use.