Muddy Fork


A Green Approach To Mental Wellbeing

We help people to improve their wellbeing and mental health through volunteer conservation and wildlife gardening in Nottinghamshire.

People are changing their lives step by step, doing useful work with supportive company, surrounded by nature at the Muddy Fork garden. We have witnessed;

  • People fearful of leaving the house start to enjoy getting out and about
  • People with no purpose start to get satisfaction from voluntary work
  • Silent people start to chat

Seeing people change keeps us working to help it happen.

Muddy Fork gardening
Muddy Fork gardening

Sessions have now resumed. For further information, please read the news section below.

Muddy Fork - Marking World Mental Health Day 2020

On Saturday the 10th October 2020, Muddy Fork marked World Mental Health Day with a locally hosted event in Retford. During September, we held a fundraiser to raise awareness for mental health conditions by inviting the local community and businesses to come together and take part in the #25pushupchallenge. The take-up and response to this was overwhelming and truly heartwarming. We had over 40 businesses take part and all of those involved submitted a short clip of themselves attempting our challenge. This then resulted in a final movie, which brought together all of the fantastic submittions, and was premiered on Saturday. We are now sharing this to highlight how supportive the local community have been, and also to demonstrate that businesses and organisations fundamentally believe in the importance of good Mental Health. Please see our amazing video in the news section below!!

Fantastic Local Business Raffle - Arranged for Muddy Fork...

As part of our event that we held on World Mental Health Day, we received some very generous prizes for a raffle that is being held by our event hosts. The donations from this raffle will go to Muddy Fork, and will be used to keep our valuable charity running and aid our cause.


Raffle tickets are available locally, but if you would like to purchase tickets, please email and we will be happy to facilitate this. The price is £1 each or £5 a strip.


The draw will take place on Monday the 26th October. Winners will then be contacted. Good luck!

Gardening for wellbeing - try it!

Feeling low, stressed, isolated?   Lots of other people are too but we seldom talk about it.  That's why Muddy Fork is here.

Come and volunteer in our garden, with friendly people, and nature all around at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve in Retford.

Have a look at What We Do then Get In Touch to have a look round or give it a try.

Friends and families.  If this might help someone you know, please put them in touch with us.

Planting up a container
Planting up a container

Connecting with the NHS

Gardening for Wellbeing works well together with clinical therapies and as follow up support.

Referrals.  If your client could benefit from exercise outdoors, supportive company and the satisfaction of helping in our garden, please Refer To Us.

Publications and evidence.  To read some of the evidence for nature based therapies have a look at our Publications page.

Garden volunteers
Some of our garden volunteers

Help Us

Tell people about us, lend a hand, make a donation.  Your support keeps us going.  If you like What We Do, find out How You Can Help Us.



Sessions Start Again!


When the pandemic began in March Muddy Fork sessions were suspended until further notice due to safety concerns and the closure of facilities at Idle Valley.
Now that restrictions on access to the Muddy Fork garden have been removed we are pleased to be able to invite back all our participants, subject to a few continuing restrictions over which we have no control.
While the Rural Learning Centre buildings remain closed we have no access to toilets so we are restricting the length of sessions to a maximum of three hours on three days a week.
The sessions comprise:
Mondays : 9.45am to 12.45pm - Overseen by Joy
Wednesdays : 11.00am to 2.00pm - Overseen by Christine and John
Fridays : 9.45pm to 12.45pm - Overseen by Pippa
While government rules permit up to 15 people to be part of our organised sessions, the trustees have decided that services will try to adhere to the ‘rule of six’ previously recommended for the general public under government regulations.
This means that where more than six individuals are present in the garden we will seek to divide into smaller groups working independently of each other.



Special Thanks...

We would like to say a very special thank you to Retford Athletic Club, Hazelwood Counselling, Mamma Giusi's, Alberto's and The White Lion for their ongoing support and generous donations to our Community Pushup Challenge, which saw over 40 local businesses take part in our event to raise awareness for Mental Health and World Mental Health Day 2020.

Thank You!



Muddy Fork Community Pushup Challenge

Please watch our Muddy Fork Community Pushup Challenge video below. This combines over 40 businesses in the local area and demonstrates the enthusiastic response we received from the Retford community in support of better mental health.


Please share this video with family, friends and colleagues!





Garden lockdown bulletin no.6 September 2020


So here we are, half a year gone and still no signs of a return to group activity. Although support groups like ours are in theory permitted so long as the ‘rule of six’ is observed, without access to the facilities in the visitor centre, which remains closed, our hands are tied.


Our team of intrepid volunteers continues to work hard in the garden, and numbers have even on occasion necessitated implementation of the ‘rule of six’, which is easily manageable in the space available. The garden and the bees continue to be well looked after, and produce is being sold to friends and neighbours of volunteers, including in the form of ‘single person veg box’ offerings, which offer us flexibility and can make effective use of the produce available.


The ‘Three Sisters’, with the odds permanently stacked against them, were commended by the judges of the competition for being good sports, but not surprisingly were unplaced. The sweetcorn was however delicious! Full marks to Pippa for taking the initiative on this one and seeing it through.


Slug-hunting and rabbit-hole fixing remain high on the agenda and we continue to reap the benefits of these efforts. We still have tomatoes (mainly outdoors), cucumbers and courgettes remain productive, kale and chard are keeping going, and the first of the leeks have been lifted. Meanwhile the beautiful pumpkins are a wonder to behold and the squashes are coming along.


As the growing season progressed we have also had time to turn our attention to our tree nursery, with work going on with oak seedlings and black poplars. Not all have survived the hardships of the summer but we still have a good number to work on.


And so, as we move into the next six months, when little may change in the way of restrictions, it remains to be seen where we go next over the autumn and winter.



#25pushupchallenge: Community Support Takes Off!


The fundraiser supporting Muddy Fork and raising awareness about mental health is going incredibly well.


It's been going so well that it's sparked interest and support far beyond Bassetlaw, with many businesses and organisations rising to the push-up challenge. We have been blown away by the donations and kind offers of ongoing support.


Help us help mental health and donate here.


Thank you lovely community!








Boots Charitable Trust
Muddy Fork has also been successful in receiving an award of £10,000 from the Boots Charitable Trust: Thank you Boots!
The funds will be used to support the core running costs of our charity as well as much needed tools and equipment. This will include the essential and overdue rabbit proof fencing, to try and stop them causing chaos in our gardens!
We would also like to thank our grants team for this success. So, many thanks to Boots UK for the support and generosity, especially during these challenging and difficult times.






The National Lottery Community Fund Award


We're delighted to announce that The National Lottery Community Fund awarded us with £10,000 from their Coronavirus Community Support Fund. This has allowed us to continue during the pandemic, covering core costs.
Thanks to our grants team for the hardwork involved which resulted in this success and the National Lottery Community and the Government for making this available.


Donate for Muddy Fork Fundraiser


Mental health issues don't just disappear because there's a pandemic, indeed they can be magnified.
Muddy Fork provides a much needed lifeline to some of our participants and whilst COVID has meant our sessions have had to be suspended, we are still providing support (where possible) to our partcipants.
So we need all the help we can get at the moment. Heather is kindly fundraising for Muddy Fork by doing a massive challenge. For twenty-five days, Heather's doing 25 press-ups, every day!
Please follow the link to read more about why Heather's doing the challenge, and then donate and share!




Muddy Fork Fundraising


We have a new donation platform! We've signed up with TotalGiving, which allows 100% of your donation to come to Muddy Fork. Please also use Gift Aid to increase the value of your donation.


Please check out our new donation page here.




Partners, Supporters & Sponsors

We are grateful for the generous support of our partner organisations and proud to be working with such great people!

More about our Partners & Sponsors...