What We Do

Muddy Fork is based at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve in Retford. We are privileged to have a large natural space in a quiet area of the reserve. Our garden is shared with a huge variety of wildlife, the list of creatures we see is never-ending. There's always plenty of time to stop, take it all in and admire dragonflies or enjoy the bird song.


We work outdoors on a variety of activities, some you will see below. Whilst taking part in the different tasks, you can learn traditional crafts such as willow weaving and bee keeping, some of the maintenance jobs will also give you some valuable skills to take away.


We expect people to have different days whilst they're at Muddy Fork, we are here to support you, so each session really is flexible to your abilities on the day, there's always plenty of individual jobs and if you feel like company there are jobs that always require a bit of team work too.

Come to Muddy Fork, take a break from your troubles and get distracted in our haven of a garden.


We have a large garden at Muddy Fork with lots of beds which within we grow a variety of fresh food, some of this food is for the visitor centre café as well as local companies Go-V! and The Saucy Pizza Co.

We also grow wild flowers, reeds and trees for conservation and to help regenerate ancient woodlands. 

There's a mix of light work (potting seedlings, weeding) and heavy work for the energetic (digging beds, clearing ditches). 


Our polytunnels are good to work in when the weather is wild.


Just a short walk from the Muddy Fork garden, we have access to a wonderful Willow Holt, which we maintain and harvest.

Once harvested, we bring the willow back down to the garden to store, and carry out exciting crafts with it.

Among many of the items we make, there are willow stems and weaving baskets, planters, fence panels, bird feeders and wren pockets.

Once we have made these, the most suitable are sold.


We are extremely lucky at Muddy Fork to have a couple of very experienced beekeepers as part of the team.

This has allowed us to have a section of the garden dedicated to bees. The collection of hives we have has expanded over the time we have been here.

It's an exciting project that you can (if you choose to) get involved with. All bee suits and knowledge is provided, you can just enjoy something a little different.

As always our honey and beeswax are in huge demand.


There are times when we help out, outside of the Muddy Fork garden. 

Occasionally we are asked if any of our participants would like to help with woodland conservation within the Idle Valley Reserve, one of the exciting tasks that is usually carried out is making charcoal.

We also help out with other local organisations, whether it be nature-based activities, such as clearing paths and planting bulbs, shrubs, hedges and trees.

There is always a variety of activities going on at Muddy Fork.