Cotswold Voluntary Wardens help Malmesbury children reap the benefits of a new school garden

Children at a Malmesbury school, on the outskirts of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are enjoying the many benefits of building their own garden and outdoor classroom thanks to the help from a team of volunteers including the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens.

The wardens, who form the voluntary arm of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, are building the central feature of the new garden at Malmesbury Primary School – a circular dry stone wall seating area which will eventually contain a pebble mosaic to be designed as part of a school competition.

The idea for a garden at the school came from Headteacher Jeff Staton.

“We wanted to develop a new garden for our school because we wanted to create a special space that the whole school community can enjoy and use for different purposes. The project is also a unique opportunity for our children to see a project grow from the vision and design right through to the completed garden. The children involved have worked really hard in the initial stages to establish the plot. Now that parts of the project like the wall and mosaic are getting underway they will bring new learning experiences that they are really looking forward to too. We are lucky to have a great support team led by Jill Cainey with help from the voluntary wardens. They have made the difference and shown the children that transforming some waste ground into something special is possible.”

Designed by teacher and former climate scientist, Jill Cainey, the garden will help the children gain a better understanding of their local environment as well as help build self-esteem and confidence by encouraging them to get actively involved with all parts of constructing the garden, as well as its future maintenance.

Jill said: “Gardening brings so many benefits to children and it is wonderful to allow children to be part of the creation of the garden. I believe that helping children connect to their environment is key to them understanding wider scientific and environmental issues.”

With much of the ‘hardscaping’ of the garden almost finished, the garden is expected to be fully planted by spring.


Notes to editors:

  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape.
  • The Cotswolds AONB was awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas in 2011.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members - 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
  • The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further details, visit: