You are here:

> > Windmill Gardens
Painting the mural in Windmill Gardens

Windmill Gardens

In 1957 London County Council bought Brixton Windmill and the surrounding land that was formerly owned by the Ashby family. The area was later laid out as a public garden now owned by Lambeth Council and maintained by Lambeth Landscapes, their in-house parks department.

As well as the historic Brixton Windmill, the park is home to a children’s playground, a stay and play facility for pre-school children managed by Maytree Nursery and a wonderful mural depicting the past, present and future of Brixton Windmill. 

Planting in herb garden

This year the council is building a new education centre next to the windmill that will be a great community asset for our neighbourhood.

The Friends of Windmill Gardens hold several events in the park each year including our successful Beer and Bread Festival in May, two bat walks one in May the other in September and our Art in the Park event in July.

We have plans to improve the facilities for young people in the park in the near future and you can read about these in the annual management plan. The management plan also includes proposals for new planting areas in the park and some are already in progress. Recently our volunteers planted Prima Donna (First Gold) hops along the fence behind the windmill as well as a small wild flower meadow to create another butterfly friendly area in the park.  We are looking forward to harvesting the hops once they are established and hope to contribute the harvest to the local Brixton Beer project.

Projects in the park

Planting in herb garden

Medicinal herb garden

In spring 2011 the Friends of Windmill Gardens converted a disused sandpit on the eastern border of Windmill Gardens into a medicinal herb garden. This bed is now flourishing and attracting butterflies and bees. Many medicinal herbs are aromatic and have very pretty flowers, so the herb bed has greatly improved this area of the park.

The bed contains four types of medicinal herb: to help the skin, respiration, digestion and genito-reproductive conditions. Many have culinary uses as well and will attract butterflies and bees.

We are very grateful to Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses and the South London Botanical Institute for their donations and help in kind and to Lambeth Council who enabled this project and funded us with a Green Champions grant.

Heritage wheat and barley

Since April 2011 the Friends have been planting small areas of heritage wheat in the park each year so that visitors to Brixton Windmill, including school children attending workshops at the mill, can see these special varieties growing. 

Because wheat cannot be grown in the same place year-on-year we have moved the wheat patch to different parts of the park. This year we do not have room to grow any wheat because of construction work in the park.  However, we have collaborated with Friends of Ruskin Park to grow a much bigger area of heritage wheat. Shire horses were used to plough a wheat field and Brockwell Bake supplied the heritage grain that was sown in March.  

We will be helping our friends at Ruskin Park to harvest their wheat in late summer and hope to gather enough grain to mill flour from it wheat at Brixton Windmill in the autumn.

We would like to thank Capital Growth who awarded a small grant to kick-start our wheat growing project back in 2011 and also Brockwell Bake for their ongoing help and advice.

Heritage wheat refers to the varieties of wheat that were grown before the “Green Revolution” in the 1960s. It grows much taller than modern strains of wheat, shading out weeds, and can tolerate much poorer soils because it has a bigger root system to seek out nutrients.

See our blog for more information on heritage wheat and barley.