those with learning difficulties,or behavoural problems benefit through practical gardening skills
The Butterfly Garden
A project for people of all ages dealing with disablement of any kind.
The history of The Butterfly Garden.

There was never a plan to set up the project, at least not until the summer of 2002 when six young autistic students were visiting a small commercial Nursery and garden centre on the outskirts of Cheltenham. They came, innocently enough, seeking gardening advice and unwittingly became the pioneer founders of 'The Butterfly Garden'. Invited to return and with guidance they teased life into a small, previously unused patch.... and people heard about it.

By November, a quarter of an acre of overgrown, derelict land was fenced off. A development plan was drawn up and as the months advanced the once tired and empty space was transformed. Today the garden extends across more than four acres. It weaves and entwines with 'the original business' (that still operates) and there is an emulation and sharing of daily tasks, that makes the experience very real. Now, over one hundred students attend each week. Many are referred by colleges, schools, day centres and NHS support agencies, whilst others are guided by friends and family. There are students on site every day and together they have transformed a wilderness and helped to shape a stimulating garden experience, with terrific resources.

The Butterfly Garden is no longer just about gardening though. As the project has evolved, people have just turned up offering help and services (amongst them teachers and care workers) and today the provision is both diverse and stimulating. We have volunteers supporting art, music, woodwork and catering as well as the gardening.

The Aims and Objectives of The Butterfly Garden.

Broadly our aims are to offer diverse, stimulating and purposeful opportunity to people dealing with disablement of any kind. Delivering a service which offers education, recreation and therapy, in a cocktail that the individual finds comfortable. We welcome and value all.

Our objective is to create a unit that is safe, reliable and self sustaining.

The Management of The Butterfly Garden.

The Charity is managed by a team of dedicated Trustees.

The Trustees (whose activity is defined by our constituition) meet on a regular basis to discuss the ongoing development of the project and have an Annual General Meeting each spring. Our current Trustees are Mr Chris Evans (Chair), Mrs Jackie Etheridge (Secretary), Mr Michael Hennessey (Treasurer), Mrs Sue Dove, Mrs Eileen Riddell, Mrs Sarah Sutherby and Pat Youngson.

This group is supported by a strong Accountant. Mr Roger Curtis (of Holbrook Curtis Chartered accountants of Cheltenham) The activities are run and managed on a daily basis by the project coordinator Mr Chris Evans, with help from teachers, support workers and a team of quality volunteers.

We warmly invite contact from interested parties, which can be directed to the trustees or to the ' day' team by e-mail at info "at" or by telephone on 01452-713068 or by post to The Butterfly Garden, The Brambles, Bamfurlong Lane, Cheltenham, Glos. GL51 6SL.

What happens at The Butterfly Garden
The Meadow

Over the last few years ,we have been working to develop a piece of wild countryside that can be accessed by all. To this end we took over two acres of ground,planted 300 trees,dug two ponds and installed 450 metres of hidden pathway. This path allows safe access for all irrespective of mobility issues and as confirmation of our commitment to community is now open to all.

The Classroom

The classroom (sometimes called The Tea Hut) was donated several years ago by the education service. It is a portable unit, is well equipped and offers working accommodation for up to thirty. It is used as a teaching space and currently also serves as our canteen.

The room is light, airy and regularly redecorated. It is very well used every day, the novelty of tea drinking, it seems, never wears off.

The original garden

This is where it all began, the tiny plot that was our first garden. Pulled from dereliction in September 2002, this most peaceful space is now mature and a real delight. It is the first stop for visitors, the glorious tip of our iceberg. The shade house : This timber shelter was raised in 2004 and offers a working space on very hot days. Effectively it is an outdoor classroom and can accommodate 20 people, allowing work to continue in the shade.

The Greenhouse

The greenhouse is our production space. Initially we crept into the front corner of the site's commercial greenhouse and now we have laid claim to 2,000 square feet of it. It is a very useful space and we use it throughout the year for the production of the plants that will be used across the project. We are also generating seasonal items in support of a number of school and college business enterprise initiatives.

The Allotment

It is amazing to look out on the allotment and remember that six years ago,it was a wilderness. Now it is a well managed kitchen garden with good paved access and some terrific raised beds. It is a substantial space and boasts soft fruit beds as well as good rows of seasonal vegetables. In early 2011 the plot will be enhanced by the arrival of a shed and greenhouse.

The Paddock

The paddock is a work in progress. Initially we cleared a piece of overgrown land and grassed it. This was a holding operation, a way of keeping the land in order, whilst a plan was conceived. Work has now started on converting this space into an outdoor theatre. Construction will be in the form of an ampitheatre, fronted by a stage. We have great plans for the ongoing development of this scheme.

The Willow bed

In 2003, we planted 250 willow for craft work and construction. Each year we harvest bundles of material and gradually are honing our skills through experimentation. Members of our group apply their skills to sculpture, garden structures and weaving.

The New Cabin

In January 2013 we opened our new building, known by all as 'The Cabin' It serves as a classroom and workshop for our students and has full services including toilets and a kitchen. It is a substantial unit and its development is a clear endorsement of our commitment to the long term future of The Butterfly Garden.

The room is used for a wide range of sessions, including music, drumming, cooking, drama and therapeutic massage.

The Wildlife area and Desert

This is a very special garden, an intimate managed space that we share with nature. We built it from scratch having cleared the ground of briar and bramble. It is fully accessible and has a peace that suggests that it might be a million miles from anywhere. At the end of the paths, which weave through dense undergrowth we have built a desert garden. It was built as a folly and is there for no other reason than "because it is".

The Butterfly Shrub business

We have in the last year been working to develop a wholesale shrub business, a project which in time we hope to turn into a social enterprise. Whilst this work is still in its infancy,the product is looking good. We are currently working with two retail outlets and are now attempting to cultivate more.

Enquiries are welcomed via e-mail or telephone.

How you can help The Butterfly Garden

We never close the door on offers of help and the county community has become enormously supportive. We rely heavily on this support to advance.

There are many ways that you can help:

Thank you for your interest and do contact us directly if you have any queries.

Outdoor performance space

We are currently developing an outdoor performance space, which is set in an amphitheatre. It is hoped that this work will be completed in 2013 and that our regular drama sessions will also grow along side it.

Flutterbuys & 'Quids in'

A key part of our fund raising, this shop is full of second hand goods. The shop is not manned, but relies entirely on the honesty and generosity of the customers.
A trust box is located on the wall and visitors leave donations. The shop is regularly tidied up by volunteers and the stock levels are regularly topped up by supporters. We are always pleased to receive more stock, so feel free to drop yours in. Flutterbuys is now on

'Quids in', is a fairly new development in the form of a pound shop. In keeping with those on the High Street it offers a range of diverse new products for just a pound. This project has enabled students to comfortably access a retail experience.

The Butterfly Café

The Café is actually part of the commercial Garden Centre. With the help of a catering volunteer, we take charge of it on a Sunday and Monday. The volunteer, supported by one of our group opens the café between 10 and 3, serving hot drinks, delicious home made cakes and light snacks.

Were appropriate students involved with this enterprise are encouraged to study for a Food Hygiene qualification.It is hoped that next year,we will be taking even more responsibility for the catering in the Garden Centre,


We have secured full waste management and carriers licences for the project and have a very effective recycling programme operating. We handle a diverse range of items, including horticultural plastic, Aluminium,Tin,wood and cardboard.

Currently we are also very involved with the recycling of video tapes. The recycled products are redirected to our own gardeners, are offered to support other 'growing schemes' in schools and communities or are forwarded into the appropriate recycling channels.

The Music room

We have a portacabin which is used as a music room and now boast an extensive collection of instruments including guitars and drum kits.

We have sound recording equipment and a Karaoke machine and currently have help from a music volunteer one day a week, we continue to look at strengthening this provision.

Art and Crafts at The Butterfly Garden

We have created a dedicated arts and craft room, which is available for all visitors to use. We have a good range of basic art material as well as some craft equipment. This area does not have a dedicated support volunteer, but still gets well used.

We also do machine knitting, patchwork and sewing classes that take place on a Thursday, these have become very popular indeed.

The woodwork shop

Opened in January, this venture could be a real success. We have two volunteer woodworkers, the support of Messier Dowty in providing us with recycled timber and some very keen students. We also have some useful equipment including a lathe.

Our group have been making bird boxes, exploring simple furniture construction and wood turning.

Garmur Future-abrasives Ltd. can supply the following Expendable & reusable
shot blasting media in a wide range of grit/grades, shapes and size's.
Image courtesy of


Our Partners

Donations are always VERY gratefully received, they can be sent to :

The Butterfly Garden,
Bamfurlong Lane,
GL51 6SL

Tel : 01452 - 713068

Donations to The Butterfly Garden can now also be made online via credit card or PayPal ... make a donation online
To find out more about Just Giving, click here
To make a donation please click here

Donations can also be made from your mobile phone with "Just text giving"
make a donation by text
find out how here.
The Mayor of Cheltenham's chosen charity

St George's Day Coffee Morning Thursday 23 April 2015 - click here for details

Tamla Motown Night Threads Saturday 28th March 2015 - click here for details

The Silver Threads at The Butterfly Garden on 18th March 2015 - click here for details

Lunch at Spice Lodge on 9th February 2015 - click here for details

Charity Race Day being held on 12 December 2014 - click here for details

Luke's coffee morning on 12 November 2014 - click here for details

Mayflower event on 23 October 2014 - click here for details

The Butterfly Garden,
Bamfurlong Lane,
GL51 6SL

Tel : 01452 - 713068
Contact us here

Welcome to The Butterfly Garden
A project for people of all ages dealing with disablement of any kind.

The Butterfly garden is an educational, therapeutic and recreational scheme, based initially on gardening, but now offering so much more. It is a project for people of all ages dealing with disablement of any kind. It caters for those looking to escape the world, those looking to re-enter it and some, who are still just looking. Its doors are open to anyone without obligation.

The Mayor of Cheltenham's chosen charity - Click here for details.

The Butterfly Garden is supported by a group of volunteers and is of charitable purpose. We are a member of THRIVE the horticultural therapy charity.

"The movement of a butterfly wing in America can cause an earthquake in China" - The Butterfly Effect
Registered charity no. 1133233
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