Wild Food Garden

Phase 1 – Installation of Keep Wales Tidy Food Growing Garden Pack

Implemented in March 2022

Phase 2 – Extending the growing space, Rainwater harvesting solutions

Location: Kymin Community Gardens, Penarth

Aim: To begin to create a forager’s garden on a disused boule court in a public park

Vision & Goals

> create a community food garden focusing on local food, organic growing and permaculture/ecological design (wild food, forager’s garden)

> develop local wildlife-friendly food growing opportunities for current and new volunteers to get involved in and support

> enliven the site for the benefit of local people, visitors and nature

>increase biodiversity

> create opportunities for people to reconnect, spend time together, learning and exploring

> increase access to local food for local people

> intertwine themes of local food, food growing, care for nature and climate action


Frameworks & Design Process: As this is a land-based design I have chosen to begin here with the MSCADE framework.

Map, Survey, Consultation, Explore Parameters, Assimilate, Design, Evolve

In part, I’m getting my eye back in to formal designing after a bit of time has passed since my PDC. I’ll begin here where I left off, a chance to practice with this framework which I used for the PDC, as a means to springboard into new learning as I go along and increase and expand my knowledge of different frameworks. I’ll draw inspiration from Aranya’s ‘Permaculture Design, A Step by Step Guide’, Looby Macnamara’s ‘People and Permaculture’ and Delvin Solkinson’s ‘Design Notes’. This feels like the first write up. I’m starting here as I have much material collected from implementation on the ground. 


The garden will be situated in the Lower Boule Court area of The Kymin, a five acre steeply sloping woodland dell, which is public open space.

Base Map

The Lower Boule Court area sits to the left of centre within the wider site. It is accessed up three small steps, is boundaried by a steep bank, trees, and metal railings to the lower end. The area has been unused for many years. Towards the back is a stone wall. The site is edged with a wooden border. It measures 12 m x 15m. The surface is fine gravel, on which weeds have grown.

*TO DO – measure the scale from your printed map


The original domestic house is thought to have been built built between 1790 and 1810. However, an article in the Penarth Chronicle in 1895 suggests that parts of the house date from 1500 to 1600.The house has been occupied over the years by a Major General, an Army Captain from Ireland, a magistrate and an architect / surveyor to the Plymouth estate.

The old coach house behind The Kymin. Only the foundations survive today as low walls with enclosed seating areas. Perhaps the terraces? As indicated by the branches of holm oak on the top right of the image.
From 1920, you can see that the trees are absent on the left, remnants of the farm perhaps? Comment from local on Facebook “I also remember the great garden parties in the Kymin and the Punch and Judy Shows.”

Site survey. Online research into background ecology, rainfall, elevation etc.



Observations – weeds grow in number on the surface of the boule court, predominately  herb robert. As an indicator species this tell us that the area is shaded. often an indicator of ancient woodland.

Primary land use – in it’s history, the Kymin has been a farm, in recent history it has been used as a public amenity site. We might be wrong to keep calling it the lower boule court, this comment on Facebook tells a different story “Penarth Pétanque Club’s old pistes (the club was forced to relocate to Sully)”. The Kymin can perhaps be dated back to the 15th century. 

 It was a working farm for many generations. 

​The present Kymin House was probably built in the 1790s as a seaside villa on the site of the previous farmhouse, and has been greatly modified over the years since. 





Tool & Tech



varies in elevation from about 20 to 40 metres OD

Wind – comes from the sea up the dell

Yeoman’s Keyline Scale of 


Plant ID. 

Sector Analysis (Microclimates) 

Wider research on climate, rainfall, geology,



Observation –  We were at the site on the days of storm Eunice in February 2022, the lower boule court is an extremely sheltered area.  As we worked the air was calm, we’d have hardly known there was a storm, if it hadn’t have been for the weather reports and warnings. The statistics below indicate the prevailing wind over time to be form the South West. These south westerly prevailing winds are dispersed by the trees in the West Wood.

Elevation – this useful online tool plots the elevation at various locations on the site. The lower boule court is 37m above sea level. 


Our site is shady, there’s no getting away from that!

The shade line diagonally across the site is clearly visible in this photo.

SUN – 

10am on March 12th 2022 – you can see how strong the morning sun is.


We dug a test pit to see what the site was made of. It’s a think layer of gravel, at about a foot depth you get to the rock which you can see visible on the beach. 

It doesn’t drain well!


Water is available from two taps, one located on the main house, quite a walk away from the lower boule court, the other is located in the ladies loo. There is no rainwater available.

The steep slope of the sit may indicate water runs off from the top to the house. I haven’t observed any big water or storm events yet to have any knowledge of this. Apart from the day we moved soil inn the lashing rain. There doesn’t seem to be any indication of areas flooding or water pooling. 

Stories of the Kymin tell of a stream running through it, but we haven’t been able to find any evidence of that yet either.

Our water management task as the design unfolds will involve a strategy for rainwater harvesting.


The lower boule court area sits low down, it is sheltered from wind by the steep bank up to the orchard and the trees to the south of the site. I’ll learn more about this as the summer progresses.


Identify stakeholders and users. 

Client Questionnaire 

Information about the land 

Community consultation if needed 

Research geographical, political, social or cultural factors.

Results of survey

community morning feedback

notes from meeting with Elen and Richard

Explore Parameters

Limiting factors and opportunities?  


Skills and Knowledge?  



Gathering and evaluating all information.

How you apply the ethics and principles to the design.


Earth Care – land and nature stewardship, understanding our relationship to the land, public open space, history of uses of the site, valuing the under used site as a place to grow food and nurture wildlife, increasing biodiversity

People Care – working together, importance of community consultation and involvement

Making sure all have their needs met, listening

Managing working with an external organisation

Sharing – opening up as a place of learning, creating opportunities for local people to learn about wild food and food growing in a shady garden deepening our relationships with volunteers through time spent creating the garden, share of the crop for volunteers and local people


Thoughts and observations 

SWOC, Zone, Input/Output analysis.


13 Jan 2022, 13:19, LBC Still evidence of frost on the ground

Zones & Sectors

Formal gardens around house moving out to wildness as we progress through the space up to the top meadow

Zone 1 – greenhouse

Notes – conversation with Terry about compost – keeping everything close to hand, on the LBC itself might be a better place for the compost that out the back of the garage (keep that area for leafmold making)

Zones occur on three levels, whole site and for LBC design and On another level, the community garden is Zone 2 on my permaculture home design


Flow. Creative Ideas. Infrastructure. Timeline for works. Plan logistics.  Make decisions. Prioritise elements. Scale drawings. Research costs  and create a budget

Elements & Functions

Herb spiral

Keyhole beds

Planting – Guilds/polyculture/annual beds

lettuce – drainpipe garden on greenhouse







mulch plants

willow structures for vines

structure – outdoor kitchen, cob pizza oven

Design Ideas

Design Implementation – Phase 1

In October 2021 we applied for a garden pack, our application was successful. We began installing the food growing garden pack we got from the Keep Wales Tidy ‘Local Places for Nature’ scheme in February 2022. This included a greenhouse, a composter, three raised beds, wildflower turf and lots of plants. We had spare sleeper wood, so we made two large potting tables for workshops and feasting.

We delighted in the number of people who came to help. The install led to emergence of a WhatsApp group with 23 people joining in a matter of days. This process has been hugely engaging for all involved. We have had our ups and downs! 


Once implemented review design regularly. Plan for maintenance and  ongoing financial viability. Feedback loops.