Our Garden

Mawnan School Nature Garden

‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow’  

In 2020, we set about creating a garden at Mawnan School where our children could feel inspired by the wonders of nature and enjoy the rewarding experience of gardening.


From making compost to nurturing seedlings, we have built a garden that is a hive of hands-on activities, where children can roll up their sleeves and get stuck into the natural world. 


It also provides a relaxing, peaceful space where children and adults can talk, read and share together, improving everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.


The garden has helped bring us back together as a school community after the pandemic. It is also helping us look to the future, giving us all space to grow.  

How our garden grew

 Led by one of our talented parents, Zinnia Swanzy, a landscape architect, we have

transformed the corner of our field into a special garden space for active outdoor learning.

We managed to raise a staggering £21,000 to fund the works. A full list of our generous donors is at the bottom of this page. Then the fun part began - seeing the masterplan come to life.

We have added more raised beds in a new paved area next to the polytunnel, with borders of herbal plants and an edible hedge.

The garden has been built to last, with metal-edged, resin-bound gravel paths. These make the garden wheelchair-friendly and accessible throughout the year.

Every garden needs a shed. Thanks to Truro Portable Buildings for supplying us with a high quality shed just right for our tools and pots.

A gazebo was installed next to the polytunnel and is used as an outdoor learning area and lunchtime zone. Bee and butterfly friendly-shrubs connect the whole garden site and make it a haven for pollinators.

Espaliered fruit trees provide a quiet, sheltered space where children, staff and volunteers can enjoy the sensory experience of being in a garden.

Next to the seating area is our meadow, which is being planted with traditional Cornish orchard trees. Soon we will add a willow igloo for exploration and play.

 The far corner is being turned into a watery bog garden with a pile of rotting logs for wildlife to make a home in. Work is underway to create a walkway through this area so the children can see and hear what’s living there up close. 

Growing and learning together

The garden is being used to improve all aspects of the school’s broad and engaging curriculum, but particularly in areas on the environment, sustainability and food.

 Children will be able to witness life cycles and see first-hand how natural environments can be improved.

 Composting bays means children are learning all about organic, sustainable gardening, using their own fruit and vegetable scraps from snack-time.

 A weekly Gardening Club operates with Year 2 children, which continues as they move into Year 3 so they see a whole growing year, from seedling to harvest.

 These are skills that last a lifetime, as are the experiences of teamwork, resilience and patience.

“Some school gardens are tucked away in a disused corner of the grounds and can easily become neglected and forgotten. Our garden is at the heart of our school and is being fully embedded into every aspect of our rich curriculum, from literacy to numeracy, science and the arts.

 A place to learn, a place to discover, a place to think, a place to relax, a place to play, a special place - a garden brings so many benefits to children. We will cherish ours.” Jilly Pridmore, headteacher, Mawnan School

How we raised the money

 We received grants from:

  • The Finnis Scott Trust
  • The M&G Community Fund
  • The Elmgrant Trust
  • The Nineveh Trust
  • The Tanner Trust
  • Grow Nature Seed Fund
  • Forest for Cornwall
  • Mawnan Parish Council
  • Councillor John Bastin’s Community Chest
  • Cornwall Garden Society
  • Local Giving


We also received donations in kind/labour/discounts from:

  • London Stone
  • Ferris Aggregates
  • Tim Lugg Plant Hire
  • Truro Portable Buildings
  • Bradfords Timber Yard
  • Contec
  • Pendennis Shipyard

Huge thanks also to:

  • Venetia Flint - who raised more than £1,200 selling handmade fabric face masks
  • The Stevenson family
  • All the other Mawnan families and friends who donated through our Crowdfunder appeal.
Donations are still welcome to fund ongoing planting and tool requirements - you can donate:

Our Crowdfunder was so successful we even featured in a TV advert shown in the South West.

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“The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies”