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:

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


Mobile Work-Shop designed for Abbey Gardens by students from The Cass wins RIBA NWLSA student award


Students from Undergraduate Studio 3 at The Cass, part of London Metropolitan University, have won a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) North West Society of Architects (NWSLA) student award for their mobile Work-Shop designed for Abbey Gardens.

Undergraduate Studio 3 is a live projects studio which explores new ways of looking at the role of the architect within social projects in the city.

The students learnt how to set up and initiate a community governed public project by studying Abbey Gardens. To immerse themselves in our community of gardeners and build a relationship with us, the students created ‘conversation kits’ – products using the garden as a source of knowledge. The conversations led to the students working with Friends of Abbey Gardens to redefine and redesign a previous structure built by studio 3 students in 2008 which, by 2013 was run down and useless.

The trailer meets the need at the garden for a dual-purpose workshop and product display space. Its first use at Abbey Gardens has been for a tiny top hat workshop at our history-themed Vintage Summer Party.

Learning from the process and community at Abbey Gardens, the students took the trailer to Hayes, where they had been asked by the local authority to initiate community run gardens in the Austin Housing Estate. The students set up events to find key players who would be interested to engage with such a community project. Identifying local partners such as Grow Heathrow and Hillingdon play association the students used their conversation kits again to discuss how a productive landscape can nurture ecological products to sell and educational workshops.

The project will be on show at RIBA in November. Meanwhile, visitors and gardeners can see the trailer on site at Abbey Gardens.

Students: Weon Young Choi, 
Ludovica Cirillo
, Gerald Darling, 
Errol Houston
, Riam Ibrahem
, Hongjae Kim
Fadwa Mezughi
, Haneen Shames
, Mirko Solinas, 
Halil Yorel
, Valerie Ziregbe

Tutors: Torange Khonsari and Sandra Denicke-Polcher

More about the project and The Cass here

More about the NWSLA here

Abbey Gardens presented with Grow for Gold award at Capital Growth Big Celebration

We’ve been to the Canal Museum for the Capital Growth Big Celebration of the year’s growing activity in London’s green spaces, where we collected the Grow for Gold award for The Inspiring food garden.

Left to right: Nina Pope of artists Somewhere, who designed the garden; Lydia Thornley; Charlie Seber, innovator, heritage tomato and comfrey man and creator of our greenhouse; Alison Gibson, fundraiser and writer; Jen Currier, events organiser and Erwan Guillo Lohan, Chair.

But we were there representing every person who digs, sows, waters, weeds, prunes, tidies, harvests, collects, designs, builds, repairs, blogs, tweets, networks, cooks, bakes, makes, serves, reports, files, supports, calculates, studies, plans and teaches at Abbey Gardens… It takes a lot of work, a lot of energy and a lot of people’s knowledge to make a garden thrive and this award has been won by the many people of all ages, every corner of our community and all walks of life who get involved. And last but not least, by Hamish, our garden club leader, who enables people to enjoy our garden club sessions whether they’re keen gardeners or they’ve never picked up a trowel before.

A big thank you to Capital Growth – and listening to the stories of the other winners and runners up, it was an honour to be in such good company. Thank you for a heartwarming evening.

Abbey Gardens crowned most inspiring community food garden in Capital Growth’s Grow for Gold competition

Abbey Gardens has been crowned most inspiring community food garden beating competition from a 1900+ strong network of similar spaces across London.

The Grow for Gold competition, run by the Capital Growth network during 2012, has announced the winners of five different categories celebrating the breadth of community food growing spaces across London.  Grow for Gold judge, Fred Foot, from Bulldog Tools, said, ‘We were blown away by the quality of the entries. It was really hard to choose the winners, when all the spaces and the groups behind them have made such an impact. It was like splitting hairs to choose, but that’s what we had to do.’

Paola Guzman, from Capital Growth, said of the competition, ’Over the last four years of running Capital Growth, there have been so many great stories behind the thousands of new community food gardens that have been set up. This competition was our way of congratulating those groups who have made a real difference, be it with the people they have brought together, the difference they’ve made to their local environment, or the amount they have grown.’

After visiting Abbey Gardens, the judges commented: “It’s a beautiful space full of great people, with interesting stories. We all felt inspired when we left.” They added that “the creative input was so important, as was having a beautiful design”. (The garden was designed by artists Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie of Somewhere, as the project What Will The Harvest Be?) They also liked the “events that reach out to the wider community, the open access, and that everyone can get involved”. The honesty stall (by founding FOAG member Andreas Lang of Public Works) and use of social media were also praised.

The Grow for Gold winners are:

  • Bee Friendly garden – Fairlie Grow, Tower Hamlets
  • Learning food garden – Chisenhale Primary School, Tower Hamlets
  • People’s food garden – Crystal Palace Transition Town, Lambeth
  • Inspiring food garden – Abbey Gardens, Newham
  • Enterprise food garden – Lambeth Poly, Lambeth
Capital Growth, which  runs the network of community food gardens, is offering grants to new spaces.
Pictures © Nina Pope, Jen Currier and Lydia Thornley