• DGT events are cancelled until further notice. We wish all members well during the current COVID-19 circumstances.
Devon Gardens Trust is devoted to the preservation and enhancement of gardens in the UK county of Devon


The Devon Gardens Trust is committed to investing in Education in this county.  To this end we support colleges, primary, secondary and special schools with advice and mentoring as well as with our small grants scheme.  We also offer bursaries to students intending to take up horticulture as a career.   The Trust’s Events programme includes lectures and workshops, open to members and people interested in the county's considerable legacy of historic gardens and open spaces.

AGT SOUTH WEST REGIONAL EDUCATION MEETING  - 26th February 2014 at  Bicton EaRTH Centre, East Devon

The Devon Garden Trust had the pleasure of hosting this annual Meeting at Bicton EarTH Centre near Exeter.  We were delighted to welcome delegates from five of our south western county trusts, seven members from our own DGT, partners from the GDSP, two secondary schools, three primary schools and others interested in developing education outside the classroom - 35 delegates in all. 

Bicton education 26-2-14With the title of 'Working in Partnership', the four speakers were Clare Barwick, East the Water Primary School - a DGT Flagship school, Rupert Bannister, Growing Devon Schools Partnership, Melissa Harvey, Devon Community Composting Network and DGT Bursary Awardee and Diane Perry, DGT member and Mentor at Chulmleigh Primary School - awarded DGT funding for their Forest School project.  They each described their own experiences of working in or with schools in Devon, and their endeavours to encourage and develop outdoor education and healthy living, but all stressed that the need for co-ordination and support from other organisations is always vital.   Each speaker thoroughly engaged the audience and subsequent reports were glowing!

Education Forum 26-2-14After lunch, the afternoon session was arranged as a 'Forum'.  If there had been room to have this part of the day 'in the round', it would have been perfect - but a half circle worked well with attendees contributing with wide ranging subjects.   These included funding, horticultural qualifications for secondary students, the effect of Offsted visits on standards in schools - the standards required often varying considerably with individual inspectors, the problems of transporting school children and the benefits of on-site delivery of 'extras' and so on.  

A full report of the meeting can be downloaded here.  

The 2015 AGT South West Regional Education Meeting was held in Wiltshire.



As a consequence of our contact with Bicton College (and through them - KORU), the Devon Gardens Trust became aware of and have now joined a consortium of organisations keen to extend the scope of horticulture and outdoor learning in Devon's schools.   After some exploratory meetings, a considerable number of organisations signed up to what has become The Growing Devon Schools Partnership (with Ian Varndell agreeing to be their Treasurer).  The organisations include Devon County Council, KORU, Devon Composting Network, Diggin' IT, Paignton Zoo, Bicton College, Garden Organic, Embercombe as well as several schools such as Okehampton College and Topsham Primary.

The Partnership has been awarded (by the Sainsburys Trust) £10,000 over two years to help set up the initial aim of providing courses at various centres (Diggin It in Plymouth and Embercombe near Exeter already in place) 'to teach teachers to teach' gardening and food growing in their respective schools.  We also hope to encourage workshops in various schools in the county, inviting their local Learning Communities to attend in order to learn new approaches, exchange information and share experiences.

A website, as an essential tool for communication between partners, schools and other organisations, has now been launched (www.growingdevonschools.org).  This project is a 'first' in the UK and as such we hope will be used as 'best practise' for other counties hoping to set up similar forums.


Over the last couple of years, the Trust has trialled a scheme of DEVON GARDEN TRUST Flagship Schools – supporting an individual school over a five year period with an agreed small grant each year.  The Trust is hoping to build on the relationships forged through this scheme – with the school, the teachers and the students. The present schools with DGT Flagship status are : Cheriton Fitzpaine Primary, Witheridge Primary, Christow Primary and East the Water Primary.


The Trust encourages FOREST SCHOOL learning.  It supports the DCC’s Devon Composting Network and KORU.  The Trust has close links with the ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY garden at Rosemoor.  We have a good relationship with both BICTON COLLEGE and DARTINGTON COLLEGE and are pleased to have been able to award bursaries to students from both these institutions.  We have been able to arrange for links between students from Dartington with schools needing help with their garden designs with benefits on both sides.



Orchard Vale Primary in Barnstaple and Chulmleigh Primary are the latest schools to benefit from an award of a Small Grant.  Orchard Vale has completed a re-vamp of its reception courtyard with a new pond designed by Dartington student, Zoe Jong.  Chulmleigh Primary needed help with the set up of its Forest School.


Over the years the DGT, through the generosity of our members, has been able to donate plants to various schools throughout the country.  If any members have plants to spare, please contact Celia Jenkins ([email protected])


The Devon Gardens Trust is keen to communicate with and support other organisations involved in gardening and enhancement of college and school grounds.  There are a number of links to Education sites on the LINKS page of this website.  If you are aware of others that are worth recommending please let us know.