developing river barn gardens Finn and Nicki Spicer bought River

barn in October 2006.

Formerly part of a 1910 model farm,

the two barns which comprised their

lot, were as yet unconverted and still

had the pens and feeders in.

There was no water or electricity and

they would come up on weekends with

a gas stove and picnics.



developing river barn gardensIn July 2007  they bought a large twin

unit and froze their way through two

winters whilst project managing the

conversion and doing as much of the

work themselves as possible.







developing river barn gardens

Although planting began early 2007

there were problems with creeping

thistle, docks, couch grass and

nettles. Everything is under control

now but not eliminated, providing

space for other more delicate species

to establish.

There was no garden whatsoever

here. The space between the two


developing river barn gardens


barns uncovered an old brick surface

after the concrete had been removed.

These were painstakingly removed,

one by one, and reused to build

retaining walls in the courtyard

garden. When they finished converting the

main barn Christmas 2008, Finn and Nicki

started on the Courtyard garden.


developing river barn gardens

The top soil came from the rich

fertile alluvial where the wildflower

meadows were being created. (Wild

flower meadows will not thrive

where the soil is rich because the

grasses do so well they swamp the

wild flowers) They designed and built

everything ourselves. They

taught themselves to use diggers and

drove dumper trucks. Their garden is proudly a product of their own imaginations and endeavours and not bought in.

River Barn garden malmesbury

Today, River Barn has been

transformed into a magical riverside

garden, teeming with wildlife and

plants.  Finn and Nicki Spicer are very proud of

what they have achieved in a short space of

time and hope to welcome you to visit

and enjoy this wonderful space. Your

support will help them to continue to

develop and improve River Barn.