Enabling people and communities to lead healthier and happier lives by connecting them to nature and each other

Living History Programme

using lessons from the past to improve our futures

Hope Farm Community Garden is in The High Weald which is one of 34 areas in England designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1983.

In November 2022, with funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund we launched our 2-year Living History Programme with the aim of engaging communities to uncover the hidden, but vibrant, natural, cultural and community heritage of our beautiful 22-acre site.

By improving access and developing interpretation to bring this landscape and its stories to life, we are delivering educational, social and life-improving activities that use lessons from the past to improve our futures, with specific focus on:

  • Reconnecting communities to nature and each other so they can better understand, learn about, and appreciate their local heritage.
  • Providing opportunities for training and skills in conservation, land management & traditional rural crafts – enabling the preservation and enhancement of our site’s biodiversity & sustainable practises.
  • Improving accessibility ensuring everyone is included.
  • Conserving and protecting this ancient site.

Social and Skills Delivery

Bee in Company

Beekeeping activities for adults and children including schools and holiday activity. Activities include (i) Beekeeping for Beginners, (ii) Weekly Social Group, (iii) Schools Nature-based delivery and (iv) Children’s Holiday Activities.

Hawkhurst Shedders

Bi-weekly inclusive sessions promoting community cohesion where members share traditional skills such as woodworking, bodging and pole lathing, well as using their expertise to restore and improve the physical environment of the site whilst creating a shared space to improve general wellbeing. Courses are also delivered and commissions taken.

Wild About The Weald

We have established a voluntary heritage research & delivery group – launched by Dr Nicola Bannister, a Landscape Archaeologist, in January 2023. The group are examining the timeline of the site’s use in the wider historic landscape of the region and to date have produced a 95-page report entitled “Hope Farm Community Garden – History and Landscape”.
Undertaking History Fieldwork
The voluntary heritage research & delivery group undertaking fieldwork with Dr Bannister
Heath Spotted Orchid
Heath Spotted Orchid

Traditional Horticulture

Supporting the creation of a heritage seed library and, in conjunction with Garden Organic, we are delivering heritage seed saving training using Kent and Sussex varieties in Autumn 2023, which will be promoted locally.

Heritage Skills Workshops

Our workshops are open to volunteers and the local community to learn about heritage crafts and engage with skills and stories from the past They will include; Herbal Medicine for Wellbeing, Food Dyeing Techniques, Bee Keeping for Beginners, Willow Basket Weaving, Trug Making, Seed Collecting and Organic Principles, Peg Loom Weaving, Introduction to Spinning and Simple Scything techniques.
Traditional Sussex Hedgelaying


Training in traditional South of England Style Hedgelaying – courses run November to February.

Traditional Wassailing at Hope Farm Community Garden


Traditional Wassail delivered in January to promote a healthy apple harvest.

Natural Dyeing Workshop

Natural Dyeing

Reduces food waste and improves sustainability – Sessions are promoted throughout the year.

Herbal Medicine Workshop

Herbal Medicine

Sessions are promoted throughout the year.