Tynedale, Ridley Hall

Tynedale, Ridley Hall

Tynedale, Ridley Hall

The horticultural skills unit has been offering this service since it opened in January 1994.

Since then, many plants have been grown and sold to the public, a woodland trail has been built and many people with learning disabilities have benefited from the service.

We celebrated our 20th anniversary in 2014 and this short film (above) was made by FilmAble to mark the occasion.

We are based at the lodge, a small cottage with an open fire in the living room. This cosy environment, along with the small size of the service helps to create the friendly atmosphere that the horticultural skills unit is renowned for.

The service is delivered within the beautiful and tranquil setting of Ridley Hall grounds, offering people who have disabilities a safe and relaxing environment to come and make friends, enjoy themselves and be themselves without discrimination. We aim to maximise each individual’s potential and enhance their quality of life.

What we offer

Each day starts with a morning meeting, featuring all service users and staff. This allows for people to find out what has been happening and to get involved in planning the work to be done that day. People choose the work they are going to be doing and there is likely to be a wide range of horticultural related work available.

The main focus of the unit is growing plants for sale to the public. Some sales take place on sit, although we also take plants in our van for sale at other locations. Planting and maintaining flower beds around Ridley Hall, grass cutting and strimming, as well as woodland management are other important areas of work. The work available will change according to the time of year, the weather and the rate of plant sales.


  • 10 day care places per day
  • homely lodge cottage used as a base, with meeting room, office, kitchen, toilets and locker room
  • three heated glasshouses
  • two polytunnels
  • allotment area
  • Ridley Hall gardens – a large area of lawns, yew hedges and mature trees with large flower beds which we plant and maintain
  • Ridley Hall woodland, with woodland trail
  • sheds for storage and workshops
  • horticultural tools and machinery
  • crew cab van for garden visits
  • large low loader trailer for carrying grass cutting machinery
  • large collection of plants for sale to the public – all grown from seed and cuttings
  • peaceful environment
  • beautiful scenery
  • Tynedale horticultural service is in a rural location, adjacent to Allen Banks, a National Trust property.

Horticultural work and activities

Plant production

  • seed sowing in trays
  • taking cuttings
  • pricking out seedlings
  • potting plants
  • washing pots
  • writing labels

Greenhouses and polytunnels

  • moving plants
  • watering plants
  • checking/maintaining plants
  • growing tomatoes, sweetcorn etc.

Plant sales

  • sales – serving customers
  • sales – using cash register/handling money
  • sales at other community venues (Haltwhistle plant fair, Allendale fair)
  • re-stocking sales area/good presentation

Growing vegetables

  • soil preparation: digging, raking, preparing a seed bed
  • seed sowing outdoors, planting
  • hoeing, weeding
  • harvesting vegetables

Looking after gardens

  • grass cutting – using mower/strimmer
  • planting flowers
  • weeding flower beds

Woodland work

  • cutting fallen timber
  • tree planting
  • trail building
  • log splitting
  • making kindling
  • chipping waste timber

Making leaf mould

  • piling dead leaves into compounds
  • building and maintaining compost heaps
  • sieving and riddling leaf mould

Out and about

  • visits to local gardens
  • visits to garden centres
  • annual holiday to visit gardens in other areas
  • sales at markets and other venues
  • annual cricket match

Plant sales

Tynedale horticultural service is not like an average garden centre. It is a small lodge which grows a range of plants from seed and cuttings, specialising in unusual hardy perennials, and sell these to members of the public. Customers calling in for plants can also have a cup of coffee in our small woodland garden.

Here, customers have a chance to talk to the people who have grown the plants, to find unusual plants that you wouldn’t find elsewhere and to receive a personal service. We are open on Thursdays between 10am and 3.30pm, but do close during the winter period.

Contact details

Manager: Clive Moon
Email: Clive.Moon@northumberland.gov.uk
Mobile: 07990793453

Assistant Manager: Karen Hemming
Email: Karen.Hemming@northumberland.gov.uk
Mobile: 07990793619

Service opening times:

Monday – Thursday (9am - 4.30pm)
Friday (9am - 4pm)

Plant sales opening times:

Thursdays only (10am – 3.30pm)