Welcome to Abbey Gardens, a community garden in West Ham
surrounding part of the ruins of a
12th century abbey.

There are free garden club sessions and new gardeners are always welcome. The garden is open to visitors from dawn till dusk.


In the garden:

  • No upcoming events
AEC v1.0.4 Click here to see full calendar


Search our site:

Gardening sessions take place on
Tuesdays 1pm-3pm
Thursdays 4pm-7pm
Saturdays 10am-4pm


Thank you Chiltern Seeds

Our annual thanks goes out to Chiltern Seeds who are once again supporting Abbey Gardens with free seeds for the 2013 growing season. Chiltern Seeds have proved a very loyal supporter of our garden since the very first day of seeding all those years ago, supplying us with their wonderful organic seeds. THANK YOU – it is very much appreciated by all Abbey Gardeners.


Some good news for all the Abbey Gardeners. Thanks to the hard work from Alison, Fiona, Lydia and Cath we managed to secure three years worth of core funding from the Tudor Trust.
Following the good news the Garden Club Sessions will continue three days a week as of NOW.


A very sunny FOAG meeting with plenty of good news.

Another big THANK YOU . . . .

I wish I had taken a picture of Ninas joyful face, hugging the freshly arrived box of seeds. Embracing the seasons pleasures in a box. All thanks again to the generosity of Chiltern Seeds who have kindly sponsored this years seeds –THANK YOU!

2011 here we come!

Friends of Abbey Gardens monthly meetings have started again and we are busy planning the year ahead. Meetings take place every first Saturday of the month at 2pm in the Pink Room of the Landgrabbers Cabin. Anyone can join who has an idea or interest in the Garden and wants to get involved in or hear about the organisational aspects of the Friends Group and the garden.

The next meeting will take place on the 5th of February 2011.
Minutes of previous meetings are published in the ‘download‘ section.

Fundraising at Forest Lane Park

We were kindly invited to provide refreshments at the Forest Lane Park Heritage and Environmental Day on November 13. It was an excellent opportunity to promote Abbey Gardens to local residents and to raise some money for our garden. Many thanks to all volunteers who helped to serve teas, coffees, cakes and soup on the day and to those who baked, cooked and transported the supplies.

Annual General Meeting 2 October at 2pm

It’s time to look at our achievements for this year and plan for 2011: The AGM (Annual General Meeting) is scheduled for 2pm on Saturday the 2nd of October at the Salvation Army, 1 Paul Street E15 4QB  [Click here for map] Any gardeners who would like to add points to the agenda or step forward to take on a more organisational role, please email.

You can download the minutes of the meeting here -> AGM minutes October 2010

AGM 2010 at Salvation Army

FOAG monthly meeting 6th, March 2010, 2pm



Our monthly Friends of Abbey Gardens meeting will take place next Saturday the 6th of March 2010 from 2pm at the Cabin (see agenda below). We are also running informal Garden Club sessions every Saturday from 10 am onwards until we have a new Garden Club Leader in place (hopefully towards the end of this month).

2pm, Saturday 6th of March 2010

1) Planting and things to be done in the garden
2) Garden Club Leader position general update
3) Events and outreach
– preparation for the 20th of March wildflower event
– dates in diary for this season’s events and FOAG meetings
– public works/Somewhere event in March
4) Infrastructure (progress of works)
5) Honesty Stall (presentation of design)
6) Fund raising
7) Plant database
– Any other business

PRESS RELEASE NOV 2009 – What Will the Harvest Be? at Abbey Gardens


wwthb_portacabin_lowres.jpg photo: Nina Pope

To download the latest press release click here -> Press Release Nov 2009
If you have further questions of require full resolution images please email us

Press release
for immediate release

Volunteers invited to plant our fruit wall Sat Jan. 16th, 10.30am – 3.30pm
Friends of Abbey Gardens and artists Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope invite you to join them for their first gardening event of 2010 – the planting of 30 young fruit trees in their East London public garden as part of the visionary project What Will the Harvest Be?

The wall-trained trees are the crowning glory of this unique open-access ‘harvest garden’ where literally anyone may learn about, grow and harvest fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers.

What Will the Harvest Be? at Abbey Gardens, West Ham is a communally-gardened vegetable and flower garden initiated by Friends of Abbey Gardens, a dynamic group of local residents living on the adjacent Baker’s Row, a stone’s throw from the 2012 Olympic site. The residents challenged London Borough of Newham (LBN) to halt the neglect of the overgrown third of an acre / 1600 sq m plot, protected from development by its notable historic ruins, to which English Heritage has awarded Scheduled Ancient Monument status. The remains span from those of a 12th C Cistercian abbey gatehouse to the foundations of terraced homes of the late 19th C and are a prominent feature within the new garden. London Borough of Newham rose to the challenge and provided both funding and active support from its Engagement Officer and West Ham Councillors.

The What Will the Harvest Be? project was designed by artists Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope of Somewhere, commissioned to come up with how both plants and people could grow together. The artists, who are both garden enthusiasts, designed bespoke raised beds in a formal, triangular layout inspired by the local ‘Plaistow Landgrabbers’, an early 20th century land squatter group whose ‘Triangle Camp’ picture is emblazoned life-size on the Abbey Gardens shed. The artists also recruited Chris Cavalier, a young performing arts graduate and gardener who has led free garden club sessions at the site since April.

Event details
Abbey Gardens, Bakers Row, London E15 3NF
Volunteers are advised to bring lunch and to wear stout shoes and warm clothes including gloves.
Tools are provided. New participants for 2010 are always welcome.

E mail@abbeygardens.org
High-resolution pictures available from somewhere.org.uk
E artists@somewhere.org.uk

Notes to editors
Though garden landscaping finished only in June 09, the project’s highlights this year included:
– the participation of more than 100 Londoners of all ages in regular free garden club sessions led by leader Chris Cavalier
– a packed Harvest Festival in September, where Observer Food award-winning restauranteur Sam Clark of Moro cooked fresh garden produce for over 150 visitors
– an innovative website showing the more than 150 vegetable and flower varieties planted and harvested by participants, including some brand-new tomato cultivars bred by a volunteer

Plans for the open-access site in 2010 include hosting cookery and social events, growing an experimental tropical fruit selection outdoors, work with local mental health charities and schoolchildren, and distributing excess fresh produce to local groups and businesses.

To date What Will the Harvest Be? has been funded by London Development Agency, London Borough of
Newham, Arts Council England and supported by Chiltern Seeds. In Autumn this year the Friends of Abbey Gardens group made a successful bid to the Community Spaces programme to support on-going development of the garden. The Community Spaces grants programme is being managed by Groundwork UK as an Award Partner to the Big Lottery Fund. Community Spaces is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces initiative.

Community Spaces
Community Spaces is a £50 million open grants programme that is managed by Groundwork UK as an award partner to the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces initiative. The programme helps community groups create or improve green and open spaces so that the quality of life in neighbourhoods across England is enhanced. Only community groups in England are eligible to apply to Community Spaces – a full eligibility criteria is available at www.community-spaces.org.uk. The programme has been open for small and medium grants (£10,000 – £49,999) since March 2008 and will remain open for these sizes of grants until 2011.

Groundwork UK
Groundwork supports communities in need, working with partners to help improve the quality of people’s lives, their prospects and potential and the places where they live, work and play. Our vision is of a society of sustainable communities which are vibrant, healthy and safe, which respect the local and global environment and where individuals and enterprise prosper. For further information visit: www.groundwork.org.uk

Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme was launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments. The programme is funding a range of activities from local food schemes and farmers markets, to education projects teaching people about the environment. Groundwork UK was appointed as a Changing Spaces award partner, responsible for distributing £50 million through its Community Spaces scheme.

The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888 Out of hours: 07867 500 572
Public enquiries line: 08454 102030 Textphone: 08456 021 659
Full details of the work of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk


let the gates be open ….

Dasha, Liz, Chris and Nina at the ‘historic’ meeting. Dasha signing the license.

Finally, after a little back and forth we signed the licence agreement with Newham Council The agreement specifies our rights to use the site and allows us from now on to keep the site open on a daily basis. From now on the garden will be opened by Newham Parks in the morning and closed at dawn.

Another milestone was the completion of the stage two Community Spaces application which Nina must have redrafted a thousand times. It is now submitted and out of our hands. The money we applied for would give us the necessary funds to complete the Harvest Garden as originally planned.

Fingers Crossed and thank you Nina!!

moving forward fast . . . to meet the planting deadline in May!


Following our successful meeting with Mark Perkins and the local Councillors we had a follow on meeting to discuss technical details of how to proceed.

After some back and forth and weighing up the options we tentatively decided to take the plunge (if that is possible) and aim for delivery of the Harvest Garden in time for this years planting season (mid/end May 2009) – providing we can overcome a few technicalities in a increasingly short space of time … among other things:

– we need to obtain approval The LDA (London Development Authority) to use the funds ear marked for the abbey gardens site to remediate the site using the Harvest Garden proposal by somewhere.org.uk.
– get other funds approved (Community Spaces & Local Fund)
– get English Heritage consent for the scheme and liaise with DCMS.
– approve the re-mediation strategy with the environmental department of Newham council.
– re-mediate the site with a membrane and 200mm of topsoil while at the same time levelling it to take the raised beds (which are needed as part of the re-mediation if we want to grow food on site).
– commission app 1km of raised beds to be build and installed.
– get everyone ready for gardening . . . .

The alternative would be to finish the garden for a later date in the year and miss the chance for some productive gardening (and harvesting) or postpone it for another year. Both scenarios we would desperately like to avoid.

May here we come!


Karen Guthrie (somewhere), Dasha French (FOAG), Nina Pope (somewhere) and Ceri Lewis (Modus Operandi) after the meeting in front of the old Stratford town hall. Apologies for the bad picture and for excluding half the meeting. (Mark Perkins, Sharon Swift and Nick Eley all had to run off before I remembered my camera).