Market Gardening Heritage

  • 13th November 2018


A new two year project focussing on the market gardening heritage in the Vale of Evesham has just been awarded £68,700 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £5000 from Historic England. The project is being run by Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service (WAAS), in partnership with Cleeve Prior Heritage Trust, Vale Landscape Heritage Trust, Worcestershire Farmsteads Project and Cleeve Prior Parish Council.

Market gardening shaped the local landscape and economy around Evesham from the 19th to mid-20th century, but much of this heritage and knowledge has since been lost. Every market gardener built themselves a shed at the end of their grounds. Locally known as hovels, these since neglected historic buildings will be the focus of the project.

Market gardening shed

Market gardening ‘hovel’ in Cleeve Prior, which is one of the three that will be restored during the project and given interpretation panels © Ian Robinson

Thanks to National Lottery players, alongside public events and the production of educational materials a survey will be carried out to record surviving hovels and three will be physically restored. Few records exist about these once common buildings and it is currently not known how many survive. The Market Gardening Heritage project is seeking volunteers to help carry out the hovels survey during the next two winters, whilst vegetation is low. Work will be carried out at your own pace in small groups and full training will be provided (the 2 hour sessions are currently running at 10am on Wed 21st Nov, Sat 24th Nov and 1.30pm on Tues 4th Dec).To sign up, or for further information, please contact Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service on

Paul Hudson, Learning and Outreach Manager at WAAS, explained that, “We are thrilled to get this money to help us record these structures which were an important but often overlooked part of the landscape in the Vale of Evesham, as well the giving us the opportunity to restore three. We also look forward to hearing people’s stories of market gardening and making them available.”

Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF West Midlands, said “We are delighted to support this project, which, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will mean that more people will be able to get involved with, protect, and learn about the heritage right on their doorstep.”

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9 responses to “Market Gardening Heritage”

  1. Lee wade says:

    I would be interested in helping, my father-in-law as a couple of sheds that I think would qualify. I’m also a local builder that as got extensive knockledge in the use of lime mortars and plasters.

  2. Heather hall says:

    Hi I am interested in becoming involved in this project alas I am no longer able to carry out field work but have experience in research

    • Nina O'Hare says:

      Thank you for getting in touch! The research and oral history strands of the project will be starting soon, so any help with this would be great. We will email over more details about how to get involved.

  3. Hazel Green says:

    I have some photographs I have taken of Hovels in and around Evesham which may be of interest. I also know where there are what I believe Hovels to be remaining. After reading the article in the April ‘Vale ‘ magazine I would be interested to see a detailed map of Hovel locations. What area does Evesham Town Council cover? From a market gardening family I also have memories of helping and working on the land which may be of interest to the project.

    • Nina O'Hare says:

      That all sounds great! Thank you for getting in touch – I’ll email over a full map of the hovels sites in Evesham and a bit more information about the oral history side of the project.

  4. I am currently restoring a smallholder’s Victorian hovel within an inherited six acre smallholding on the former Woodnorton Estate, Lenchwick, near Evesham. There are currently six hovels on other former smallholdings and are in various states of disrepair. The Hovel is being restored with reclaimed materials and where needed, as far as possible, with identical materials and constructed true to the original design and fabrication. For example lime mortar, Evesham/pershore brick and larch timber stud work and joinery. The installation of the hovel’s windows and larch featheredge boarding will take place shortly. A web site illustrating it’s restoration soon to be live –

  5. Charles Hazzard says: continues to document the progress of the restoration of a victorian hovel, near Lenchwick, Evesham. The website also documents the location and photographs of hovels built to the same design in the vicinity. The restoration began in 2011, however in 2012, a planning application was then submitted to Wychavon District Planning Department to dismantle completely and rebuild the hovel as a restoration. The application was successful, with the acknowledgement of the Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service (WAAS) noting the historical importance of this project to the locality. Mike Glyde, Historic Environment Planning Officer of WAAS, noted: While superficially insignificant, these late Victorian agricultural shelters are of local importance and represent a very distinctive building type which contributes to local distinctiveness.

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