Gardening guru visits Ipswich Eden-Rose Coppice for Big Dreams Small Spaces show

Eden-Rose Coppice Trust founders Jo and Rob Brooks with Monty Don at the Ipswich woodland retreat wh

Eden-Rose Coppice Trust founders Jo and Rob Brooks with Monty Don at the Ipswich woodland retreat where the episode of Big Dreams Small Spaces was filmed. Picture: LION TV - Credit: BBC/Lion TV

A small Suffolk charity which supports people with terminal illnesses via its woodland retreats is to feature on a BBC TV programme this week, following a visit from celebrity gardener Monty Don.

The Eden-Rose Coppice Trust charity - acclaimed for its work with cancer patients, people with mental or physical health problems and learning difficulties - benefited from the gardening guru’s advice on a project they are carrying out at their second site at Brickmakers’ Wood in Ipswich.

Run by father and daughter team Rob and Jo Brooks, the charity wants to build a productive terraced allotment there on a treacherously steep slope in the middle of a wooded wasteland – a task which purportedly left Monty speechless.

Viewers will have to wait until the show – Big Dreams Small Spaces – airs this Friday to find out whether Monty’s advice and the help of an army of volunteers enabled the pair to nail the task.

“It’s a four month project so Monty came out twice to Ipswich and the crew also followed him around the Sudbury site too,” Jo said.

“We were very excited to have Monty come along and give us advice because we were unsure what would grow in shaded heavy clay soil.

“We knew we had to get it right for the type of vegetables we are hoping to grow.

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“The points and tips he gave us were invaluable.”

According to Eden-Rose founder Rob Brooks, who is a cancer survivor, medical evidence shows that many of the most effective settings for recovering from fatigue or illness involve the natural environment. However, such restorative environments are in short supply in many urban areas. That is why he was spurred on to set up the first Eden-Rose Coppice retreat in Quay Lane, Sudbury.

While he was in the county filming, Monty also visited the original 3.5 acre site, which was the first sanctuary of its kind in the UK and has since offered more than 150 people with terminal illnesses some form of solace with their families in the wood.

Sudbury is being used as a blueprint to transform the Ipswich site from densely overgrown, rubbish-strewn woodland into an indoor woodland area and skills centre.

The programme, Big Dreams Small Spaces, is on BBC2 this Friday at 7pm.

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