1.1 The Exeter Community Garden is a long-term initiative established initially by members of the Students’ Guild, and continued by students, staff of the University of Exeter and members of the local community. Its aim is simple: to further the causes of local food production, sustainability and biodiversity in Exeter and assist in the development and knowledge base of members.
1.2 It is designed to be a pleasurable leisure and educational facility, operated on a voluntary basis by the students, staff and members of the community.
1.3 This document was last revised and updated on 10th October 2023.
2.1 The garden extends to the fenced area where vegetables, herbs and other plants are grown, and the orchard area immediately to the north. It also includes the wooden Observatory building adjacent to the path which is used for general storage. There is an aluminium framed greenhouse in the orchard and two polytunnels adjacent to the orchard. The total area is about 0.12ha (0.3ac).
2.2 Gardening is generally a low risk occupation, though there will be occasions when risks are increased due to factors such as new tools being used, heavy weights being moved, holes being dug, surfaces being slippery or weather being extreme through heat, cold, rain or wind strength.
2.3 All work is done in the garden is on a voluntary basis and will include some members with little or no skill or experience through to those with sufficient expertise. Any member who does not feel confident in carrying out any operation should ask for assistance. Special account must be taken of the fact that English may not be the first language of some members taking part in activities.
2.4 All members should remember to carry a mobile telephone with them listing the contact numbers of the Committee members who can be contacted in case of emergencies, see Appendix 1. This is especially important if working alone; but see paragraph 6 below.
3.1 Members must ensure that when at the garden, you wear suitable clothing and footwear for the work proposed. Gloves will be provided, but appropriate footwear with closed toes and suitable soles together with other garments should always be worn. Safety goggles are available when necessary.
4.1 All members must use the correct tools and equipment for the job and not try to adapt tools and equipment for purposes they were not designed for. If you are unsure how to use a piece of equipment or a tool, do not use it; ask for further instructions. Also bear in mind that others may be working close to you or behind you. Take care not to put tools or equipment down in places where others may be working. All tools and equipment should be returned to the Observatory or handed to a committee member at the end of each session.
4.2 Many tools have sharp blades or sharp prongs and these must be used correctly. They should not be left on the ground where others my step on or trip over them. If not being used, or for shorter periods between use, they should be placed in a safe place, clearly visible, or given to a committee member and returned to the Observatory.
5.1 There will be occasions when large plants and other items need to be moved or lifted and holes dug.
5.2 When lifting, look at the object initially and try and gauge the weight, and if you think it looks too heavy, ask for help – do not try to lift it on your own.
5.3 When lifting, get close to the object and bend your knees and keep your back straight. Get a good grip of the object and lift using your legs, keeping your back straight. Try and keep the object as close to your body as possible. When putting the object down, again, bend your knees, keep your back straight.
5.4 Be aware that some objects may be top heavy and ask for assistance to stop them tipping over.
5.5 When digging holes, use the correct tools, and be aware if anyone is standing close to you. Do not leave large holes unattended without erecting a suitable barrier and/or warning sign.
5.6 Be aware that the surface you are working on may be uneven or slippery, and if unsure, ask for help.
6.1 The garden is a communal venture, so generally members should not work alone. On occasions when this is necessary, e.g. when watering or weeding, members should remember to have a mobile phone with them so that a committee member can be informed if any problems occur. A list of committee members contact numbers is attached at Appendix 1, and this is also available in the Observatory where a copy of this report is located.
A first aid kit is available in the Observatory to deal with minor cuts, grazes, bites and bumps. If appropriate the injured person should report to the nearest A&E department for a tetanus injection or other necessary treatment. We also have a Welfare Box sited in the Observatory that has some fresh drinking water, spare jumpers and blankets and additional medication if required.
7.2 Slips, trips and falls can be a common occurrence. They can be avoided by wearing appropriate footwear, paying attention to the working area, concentrating on what is going on around you and not leaving tools and equipment lying around or in dangerous places. Please remember what tools have been taken from the Observatory and ensure they are returned at the end of the session.
8.1 Members must be aware that some plants in the garden such as nettles and brambles can sting or scratch, there are ant nests and some other insect nests in parts of the garden where the insects, such as wasps, may bite or sting if disturbed. Wearing gloves, long sleeves and long legged trousers will help mitigate harm, but if this happens, stop work, let a Committee member know so appropriate action can be taken to warn others of the problem. Margarette Parlett is our First Aider.
9.1 Only trained Staff are to use mechanical equipment such as lawnmowers and strimmers. Members should not use other mechanical equipment unless they have been properly trained. Members must be aware that some tools, such as the long handled shears and loppers, are sharp and they must be used correctly
10.1 There will be occasions when minor carpentry and other work is required for the maintenance of gates, fencing and raised beds, or the provision of new facilities. Members who are not confident using hammers, saws, drills or other equipment should refrain from this activity and report any work that needs carrying out to a committee member or one of the University Grounds staff.
11.1 Tools and equipment will be stored in the Observatory building and must be returned after use. Please let a committee member know about any damage or breakages
12.1 Be aware that garden canes can have sharp ends that can cause injury to the face. If appropriate, mark the end of the canes with tape or a soft end cap such as a bottle cork.
13.1 There will be occasions when work is done during adverse weather, and members should prepare themselves accordingly. In winter, dress for warmth and be prepared for rain. In spring, summer and autumn, be aware of sunburn. Use appropriate sun cream with a high enough UV factor and wear a hat.
13.2 There is no drinkable water available at the site, so members should bring their own bottled water if required.
14.1 Members should be aware that there is a small pond at the Garden in the south corner of the raised bed area. There is also a larger pond on the north side of the orchard with an open ditch running along the eastern side; but fenced off from the orchard. It does however cross under the access path between the raised beds and the orchard. Care must be taken when working in these areas.
Paul Cleave - 01392 725819
Margarette Parlett - 01392 431578
Adrian Berryman - 07901 820604
Ursula Cooper - 07985 749778
Jayne Cooksley - 07519 022196
Abi Pratten - 07926 561549
University Estate Patrol
(emergencies only) - 01392 723999