Community takes over kitchen garden

The community hand-over was marked at a ceremony at Craigievar Castle
The community hand-over was marked at a ceremony at Craigievar Castle

Pupils from a rural Aberdeenshire school are preparing to play an important part in caring for their local heritage.

Youngsters from Cairgievar Primary are taking over the cultivation of the kitchen garden at the National Trust for Scotland’s Craigievar Castle, near Alford.

The handover was marked with a small ceremony last Wednesday.

Pupils and other representatives from the local community will use the kitchen garden at the castle to grow produce that will be sold to raise funds for the school and community activities.

The pupils will spend a few hours each week carrying out tasks at the garden.

Senior assistant John Lemon said: “This is a really exciting initiative. Throwing open the doors to our garden and encouraging the local community to get hands on with their heritage will, we hope, encourage more people to explore and experience all that Craigievar Castle has to offer.

“We already work closely with Craigievar Primary through our forest school project which has been helping them learn about their local plants and wildlife.

“Now they’ll be expanding their expertise into horticulture, bringing the kitchen garden back into use to the benefit of themselves, the local community and the castle too.”

Craigievar head teacher Andrea Drummond said: “Craigievar School is delighted to be working with the community to develop the kitchen gardens as a place for the whole community to meet, enjoy and grow.

“The school regularly uses the grounds around the castle for outdoor learning and this opportunity will give us another area to use.”

She added: “As a school we place a high value on getting children to learn through real contexts so growing vegetables and fruit will enable us to find out more about how things grow, learning skills in gardening and using our crops to eat and make different products.

“We hope that visitors to the castle will come and visit the kitchen garden and see what the local school and community are doing. If there are any other people willing to get involved in this project, have any tools or seeds which they would be willing to donate, please contact the school.”

Craigievar Castle was completed in the 17th century.

It is one of Scotland’s most picturesque locations and is rumoured to have provided the inspiration for Disney’s famous castle.