We have heard that the Serpentine Walks working area was used during World War II's dig for victory campaign to produce food for the local community. We have found no hard evidence and hope that local historians may fill the gaps in our knowledge. Until recently the site was used to grow plants for display in Pavilion Gardens. When this use ceased, the plot and its greenhouses fell into disrepair.
Serpentine Community Farm came into existence after a long gestation. A group of locals had been meeting and researching for several years to find ways to increase food growing in our town. What was lacking until last summer was a place to demonstrate practically, and to learn for ourselves how, and what, to grow in Buxton's 'difficult' cold climate.
SFC fits into the vision of a sustainable town. As a ‘Local Food Re-skilling Centre’ it is centrally located, it is compact but large enough to grow a range of crops in varied environments, and it has buildings that have the potential to be teaching and food processing rooms. Moreover the heritage of the site can be preserved whilst bringing it back into use and providing a valuable community resource.
February 2013 Transition Buxton's proposal for site was sent to High Peak Borough Council (HPBC) and received positively. HPBC were willing to work with Transition Buxton to develop the plan.
May 2013 Meeting with a representative from the University of Derby expressing enthusiasm for being part of the project.
July 2013 Agreed at meeting with Council Officers that given a description of planned use HPBC could cost out necessary refurbishment works for existing buildings.
October 2013 Initial Working Group meeting with Transition Buxton, Council Officers and University of Derby on site.
February 2014 Presentation to Buxton Town Team I&V.
Spring 2014 Further Working Group meetings.
March 2014 Derbyshire County Council (DCC) survey of site estimates refurbishment costs at £275,000.
May 2014 Site visit with HPBC and DCC.
June 2014 Draft licence for land clearance issued and first Volunteer Day organised with insurance cover secured.
29 June 2014 First Volunteer Day a great success: cleared the area between the perimeter wall and the greenhouse of scrub, saplings and plant pots; located fitting pipes, overheads and shelving for polytunnel; collected 3 pallets worth of plant pots. Twenty four volunteers attended and contributed a total of seventy three volunteer hours.
September 2014 Serpentine Project given award by East Midlands in Bloom judges.
28 September 2014 Second Volunteer Day was very hot (for Buxton). Work extended into the main central area of scrub and plant pot clearance. Another 3 pallets worth of plant pots collected. Forty one volunteers gave a total of one hundred and thirty seven volunteer hours.
26 October 2014 Apple Day benefited from loan of an apple press from a local group. Volunteers enjoyed lots of apple products. Collection progressed from pallets to builders' bags: four bags worth of plant pots collected. Twenty three volunteers gave a total of ninety volunteer hours.
November 2014 Wednesday Volunteer Days launched. Despite attracting fewer volunteers, the additional time supports regular work on site, including Public Service students’ Day on 9 December 2014, when twenty eight students and their two tutors, cleared the felled trees within a couple of hours. By the end of 2014, Wednesday Volunteer Days had attracted a total of fifty volunteers with a total of one hundred and forty three volunteer hours.
30 November 2014 End of Year Volunteer Day supported by twelve volunteers with a total of forty one volunteer hours.