Community mission

Summer(hill) Time and the Diggin’ is Easy!

5 GoodGymers made their way to help the Summerhill Trust - Wildlife Garden in Newcastle.

  • Newcastle runner
  • Suzanne Luther
  • Newcastle runner
  • Briony Gardner
  • Krishti
Sunday, 5th of February 2023
Led by Newcastle runner

Well maybe not quite summer but it was a beautiful morning for a GoodGym task in such a lovely corner of the city. Pre-pandemic Newcastle GoodGymers will, I’m sure, have fond memories of running up Westgate Road on Monday evenings to Changing Lives tasks, and even fonder memories of running back down. We often ducked along a lane into a park for a game of dishes and domes on the way down, and it’s at the back of that park that Summerhill Trust is based. Task owner Dan gave us a tour of the area before we got to work, showing us the bowling greens, the orchard and the allotments. There’s also the pavilion which is available to hire for events - check out the website if you’re looking for a venue - it looks fab and proceeds from events help to keep the garden spaces going.

Dan then took us into the wildlife garden where the task was located. Regular volunteers/residents Rita and Paul were already hard at work so Lucy, Suze, Krishti, Bryony and I got straight to work too. Footpaths wind around the garden, consisting of liners with variable amounts of mulch at various degrees of decomposition on top. Our task today was to remove the top layers, saving the stuff that was good enough to re-use and scattering the more decomposed material as compost onto the flower beds. We spread out across the garden and made quite a difference, only stopping briefly to take advantage of the Jaffa Cakes that Dan supplied!

There is new mulch ready to be distributed on the paths which came from the combination of a Christmas tree amnesty and a wood chipper! Sadly we didn’t have time to lay the new liners and scatter the new mulch but it’ll be an easy task for the Summerhill volunteers who work in the garden every Sunday. Dan assured me he’ll send photos when it’s done! In the meantime, you can get a sense of the space and the before and after paths in the photos.

We caught glimpses of the wildlife - a pretty robin supervised our efforts and I’m afraid to admit that one or two of the many juicy worms we uncovered might not have avoided my spade! Some of us were more keen to interact with the worms than others! The two ponds are due to be full of frog spawn in a couple of weeks and apparently the frogs then hide in the wood chip piles to keep warm! I’m sure I spotted insect houses and the garden will clearly be a riot of colour in the spring and summer. Yet another example of GoodGym revealing unknown treasures of the city!

Report written by Newcastle runner

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