Frances Tophill partners with Chef & Brewer to create biodiverse, sustainable pub gardens for the chain

Presenter, author and designer, Francis Tophill is working with Chef & Brewer to improve their pub gardens, making them more sustainable, biodiverse spaces

Frances Tophill working on the Chef & Brewer pub gardens
credit: Chef&Brewer

Owned by Greene King, the Chef & Brewer collection is a chain of over 150 licensed countryside pub restaurants in the United Kingdom. Along with the horticulturist and presenter, Frances Tophill, the pub chain are working to make the most of their outdoor spaces for their punters, the community and wildlife.

“I’m working with the Chef & Brewer collection to turn pub gardens into something better than they already are, installing some of the principles a pub garden could be. This is an amazing opportunity for a huge amount of land to be turned into something biodiverse and sustainable that teaches people all about their food, the plants, seasonality but also provides loads of habitat, pollen and food for wildlife, insects, birds that visit these spaces but also making them more enriching an educational for all of us, the community. Pub gardens are such a big part of our community, so if we can engage with nature and really enrich them in a way so that kids can enjoy the wildlife and the spaces that makes it so much better. But also for the staff who work here, and creating spaces that are practical and easily maintained so that they can keep looking beautiful, year after year and really make them an integral part of the community”, explained Tophill.

The gardens have been designed on the basis of a set of guiding principles, aimed to provide pub visitors and the local community a fully accessible place to sit, find shade and privacy but that are also sustainable and biodiverse spaces, supporting wildlife, improve ecosystem health, and enhancing garden resilience to environmental changes. According to the company, the gardens will be built using materials, that are reclaimed and/or sourced locally and include alternatives for concrete, such as sand and gravel. The planting will be successional to provide extensive wildlife habitats and consists of wildflowers, perennials, shrubs and trees. Water features will be included to attract and support various species.

In a post on instagram, Tophill added that as part of their pledge to their biodiverse gardens, Che & Brewer will be donating 20p from every pint of Golden Nectar ale sold during the summer to the Shropshire Wildlife Trust.