Stephen Cox Garden Trust is a Registered  Charity (number: 1174239)

Wildlife/Conservation Faculty

A Garden for Nature- A Home for Other Creatures

I firmly believe that we all have a sacred and solemn duty to care for, cherish, protect and enhance Wildlife, the Environment and all other Creatures in every way possible. All of us in our daily lives can do sometning to make this planet more beautiful, sustainable and maintain its rich diversity and fecundity. And it is a desperately urgent task: in the last 50 years our wildlife has dramatically diminished.

I was brought up in a rural environment. Our games and playtime was out in the fields, woods, streams, lanes of the valleys and hills of Gloucestershire. Growing up in such a setting one instinctively one feels part of something at once beauteous and wondrous.

And how can one ever be alone as long as there is the rhythm of the seasons, the cycle of life in the greeness all around, the rustles of leaves in the breeze, the sound of the bird and the bee and smell of grass and flower after the rain? So much to delight our senses, restore our spirit and engender a sense of love and generosity to the environment and other creatures that so enrich our lives.

If anything sums it all up it is this: 

"The kiss of the sun for pardon

The song of the bird for mirth

One is nearer God's heart in a garden

Than anywhere else on Earth"

And so in a spirit of thankfullness, joy and partnership my garden has been developed to aid this process. And this takes several forms:


Has been undertaken with wildlife in mind. So often we do not plant for wildlife. Yet gardens account for far more habitat than all the National Parks put together, so if we all took a little trouble then think of all the wildlife corridors across the nation that would be created and think of the richness this would be bring to our lives!

(note: only enquiries dealing exclusively with the garden are accepted)


The Trust and the Garden and all its projects and teaching are run according to the spiritual philosophy of Stephen Cox. This is especially so with regards to what might be termed 'Conservation' wherein which an inner core of his fundamental principles may be found.


Taking the philosophy and teachings of Stephen Cox as its lead the Trust believes that:

o Nature and Humans can co-exist in a mutually beneficial manner which enhances their mutual condition and potential. 

o That all existence on Earth is interdependent and part of a wondrous composition which is an indivisible whole. 

o That caring for Nature and other creatures can improve the human condition- including its mental well-being, morality and spiritual attainment.

o That the destruction, damage and degradation of the environment as well as habitat and species must be halted and repaired and reversed.

o That any damage to the environment or other creatures is also an assault on the integrity of humanity.

o That all humans should be taught from an early age about the rights and needs of other creatures and of the importance of the health and diversity of Nature and the Environment.

o That we should encourage each other to live in as ecological, bio-friendly, non-destructive, and sustainable a manner as is possible

o That we as humans have a sacred duty to protect, cherish, and enhance the environment and other creatures.

o That all life, all creatures, and all Nature and its environment/ landscapes, eco-systems, habitats etc are sacred.



The Policy of the Trust with regards to wildlife, the environment etc shall be as follows:

o To garden in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner.

o To enrich its extant habitats for other creatures and increase the quantity and range of habitats and create new ones

o To extend the range of species living in and visiting the garden.

o To have a policy on the rights of other creatures.

o To have a policy regarding treatment of wildlife during gardening/teaching/visits.

o To reduce use of all non-organic materials and garden in as organic a manner as possible.

o To undertake extensive composting and  also to continually enrich the soil by organic means.

o To increase the range of native and wild flora and fauna.

o To maintain records of species and undertake wildlife audits from time to time.

o To communicate our values of love, respect, protection and enhancement of landscape, environment, bio-diversity and wildlife to our students, volunteers and visitors.

o And the same to the general public.

o To undertake activities, publications/articles, events, workshops etc for students and local people in pursuit of this policy.

o To encourage the protection and improvement of:  the landscape, bio-diversity, environment, together with wildlife and habit of the local area in this part of North Wiltshire.

Conservation Studies

We now offer a 'Conservation' course or study programme. This is not adopted or adapted from any existant educational system or from conservation sector/industry. It has been uniquely created by an intuitive process of exploration, study, research, examination and practice over many years. Thus it is completely unique and is found nowhere else.

Above all it is based on the spirituality and philosophy of Stephen Cox- the vision and values of whom inspired and drives this charitable trust.

It is not a course which offers a recognised qualification. Rather it is a course which enables the individual to become familiar with all aspects of conservation, environmental studies & ethics, landscape appreciation, wildlife care, empathy with Nature, land stewardship, and related topics

Below are listed the range of themes/skills/activities which are taught. Please note that these are only subject headings: each item has a detailed syllabus.

1. Planting for bees/butterflies.

2. Habitats.                                        

3. Wildlife code of conduct.            

4. Non-human creature rights.

5. Standing water (ponds, wetlands, damplands)

6. Composting.

7. Irrigation.

8. Attracting wildlife.

9. Wildflowers.

10. Wilding areas.

11. Masking instrusive sound.

12. Perennials v annuals

13. Gardening & mental health.

14. Gardening & spirituality.

15. Gardening and physical health

16. Rooms, zones, micro environments.

The above are taught to the student over the duration of several weeks, depending on attendance availability.

However specific workshops and seminars are given on individual subjects starting in 2018.

And also commencing in 2018 will be specialist group educational tours of the garden geared entirely to aspects of the above course.your ou to tell your story and let your visitors know a little more about you.

Environmental Studies

Our research and studies includes the environment,  wildlife,   ecology,  heritage,   flora & fauna,  the built environment,  public green space,  watercourses & standing water,  woodlands,  farming,   migrations-habitat,  wildlife corridors,  geology & land types,  transition/changes in landscape across time.

Specific subjects looked at includei:

●Understanding the history, development and current situation of the local  landscape, ecology, wildlife, habitats and environment in general.

●Communities, farming, land use.

●Traditions, history and heritage of the land.

●Wildlife/species audits

●Gardens, wildife corridors.

●Heritage sites.

Declaration of Rights of Non-Human Persons

For some years I have been moving towards a way of life that grants other creatures status as non-human persons.

We, of the species Homo Sapiens, in our intelligence and evolution must finally recognise the duty we have, as the dominant species,  to other intelligent species/creatures.

In my garden all mammals and birds etc are treated as non-human persons.They are given the same respect, protection, love and dignity I wish to be given myself. This must include at the barest minimum the following:

1. Freedom from detention/ imprisonment/confinement.

2. Right to life and liberty.

3. Right to a family life.

4. Freedom from persecution /torture/mistreatment/servitude.

5. Freedom from hunting and trapping. 

6. Right to eat and find sustenance in peace without human disturbance.

7. Right to a safe and natural habitat.

8. The right not to be removed from their natural environment.

9. Freedom from control, exploitation and enforced training for commercial and other gain.

10. Freedom from experimentation.

11. To be treated with care, respect, and dignity and afforded protection and help by all members of the dominant planetary species homo sapiens.

I urge all my friends to make such a Declaration and commit to a way of living in this regard.


The 'Gatekeeper'.

Especially with regards to bees and butterflies and moths. Like so much else they are having a very hard time of it. And many species are uinder threat in England.


Although the garden is only 5 years old having started from scratch (simply a large grass/field like area), on average now over 25 species of butterfly and day flying moth visit and breed in the garden.

Nectar rich planting throughout the garden has encouraged populations to establish themselves. More such planting for conservation will continue. In the emergent woodland wildflower sowings are to be made.

There is a steady year on year increase  in both species and numbers over.  2019 saw the Brimstone make an appearance in February. The 'Orange Tip' again has made early appearances. 

Sightings since reords began include: Peacock,   Speckled Wood,  Comma,   Common Blue,  Tortoishell,    Red Admiral,   Brimstone,  Painted Lady,     Marbled White,  Large White,   Gatekeeper,   Orange Tip,  Ringlet,   Small Skipper,   Small Copper,  Small Heath,    Small White,   Cinnebar, Red Underwing, Tiger Moth, Meadow Brown.

The Peacock

Once again fewer in number this year but picked up a little bit later in the season.

The Comma

The Commas this year have been fewer in number and also much later.


A small group sunning themselves together.

The Brimstone

Looking rather more green than its true yellow. Numbers of these again down.


Several day flying moths are frequently seen, including:

Red Underwing,   Scarlet Tiger Moth,   White Plume,   Hummingbird Hawk Moth,   Yellow Underwing,   Cinnabar,      Ruby Tiger,    Brimstone,     Blood Vein Moth,   Pyrausta curata,    Silver Y,   Black arches,   Orange Underwing.

A fuller list will be compiled soon.

More information to come.


Quite a variety of insects now live in the garden and these include:

a wide range Beetles (including Stag-beetle, Cockchafer) as well as such things as Damsel-flies and Dragon-flies. Also Pond-skaters, and Water-boatmen  on the pond. Crickets and Grasshoppers and Lace-wings seem to be doing well.

The garden has large quantities of  Lady-birds. And a variety of Shield-bugs .


Several species of bee are daily seen in the garden in season such as:





Amphibians & Reptiles

I brought my Frogs from my previous little pond and they have set up home happily here and bred. They are often to be seen in the pond or wetland or waterfall.

2017: very extensive spawning between  26-28 February.


And in 2016 Newts were introduced into the garden and released into the wetland.

Slow-worms are seen ocassionally.



The Pond is a thriving place for life and each year many fish are born. And as of 2016 the Shubunkin started breeding.

There are several species and these include:

Goldfish.     Blackamoor.   Golden Rudd.   Silver Rudd.  Green Tench.  Blue Panda.  Canary Yellow.   Sarassa Comet.  Honey Orf.   Blue Orf. Red Shubunkin.  Blue Shubunkin.  Golden Shubunkin. White Ogon.  Ginnrinn.  Koi (metallic ghost).  Fantail.

The metallic ghost Koi is now over 12 years old and quite large. Some of the fish were from from the other side of the country when I moved here in 2012.

It has been necessary to erect black mesh fence all around the pond and lay poles across the surface to keep the heron at bay. Unsightly but necessary.

I find watching fish to be very restful and soothing. They are often to be found sunning themselves in the shallower more open water. Some also like to come down to the waterfall for a tickle.

They congregate each night at the same time  and place where they are to be fed.


On the basis of what my Cat catches live (I usually manage to persuade him to give them to me in exchange for treats!) then Voles, Field Mice, House Mice  and Shrews are in abundance.

Bats are seen every evening swooping across all parts of the garden. 

Juging by frequent mounds of earth then Moles are thriving.


A Badger visits. Ocassional visits by Muntjac in the woodland area. And Rabbits there also. A Ferret has been seen.


In the garden itself since planting has developed over five years from nothing a reasonable range of species have now established themselves including;

Robin;  Blackbird;  Wren;   Sparrow; Pied Wagtail;  Nuthatch;  Bluetit; Great tit;  Coal tit;  Gold finch;  Bearded tit;  Chaffinch;  Firecrest;  Gold crest;  Collared Dove; Green finch;  Hawfinch;  Tree Sparrow;  Song Thrush;   Wood Pigeon.

Visits by Crows;  Magpies;  Ocassional visits by Pheasant;  Heron.

Overhead; Swallows (lots);  Buzzard;  Red Kite;  Sparrow hawk;  Falcon;  Gull.


There are plans to establish an apiary at the far eastern part of the garden  (the new new emerging woodland section). This room will also have areas of wildflowers and bee and butterfly friendly flowers and shrubs to help support these creatures. It will also be a semi-wild area.

The Apiary will also have a community involvement  aspect to it.

We need help to finance purchase of the beehives and colony and also wildflower turf mats.


is a Registered  Charity (number: 1174239) in England & Wales


PURPOSE: To advance education in the subjects of horticulture, conservation , wildlife and heritage by providing study courses, training placements, talks, and workshops and other means for the enrichment of the Wiltshire/Calne and S.Glos/N.Somerset area communities and for the improvement of human well being in general based upon the Founder’s garden, library, writings, teaching and spiritual philosophy.

Please Donate

Please consider supporting the Trust's work for wildlife, education, and community  projects by making a donation.

Thank you!

Please note that all donations made by this method are transmitted automatically to our authorised UK bank account of the Tust and so can only be used for the purposes for which the Trust has designated.

Payment can be in any amount of your choice.



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The garden is private and is not open to the public on a daily basis. The Trust and the Garden is not a business or commercial enterprise and is strictly not-for-profit. It is a private educational Trust serving charitable objectives for the public good as defined by Charity Law in England and Wales. However in the interest of education and public benefit and to help enable others appreciate its work Stephen Ben Cox invites schools/gardening clubs/w.i's and other groups to arrange a private tour of his garden by prior appointment (the private visits season 2019 is: 14 May to 01 August). The Trust (registered charity number: 1174239) is unfunded except for donations. All income is used entirely to support the work and goals of the Trust. Stephen Ben Cox, the Trustees and Volunteers work unpaid. The Trust is seeking business sponsors to support the goals and activities of the Trust. Individual donations are also gratefully received .


Any opportunity, event, facility or activity listed is philanthropic and offered in a private capacity in a spirit of good will for the benefit and enrichment of society. No project or activity or anything published on this website grants any rights or assumptions of private access, or any other rights to either property or possession thereon or therein.


All visitors, volunteers, students, etc assume full personal responsibility for any accident/injury/ damage/loss to themselves or their possessions. Any visitor/volunteer/ student etc visits/partakes of their own volition and at their own risk. No claims will be accepted. Visitors should take note with regards to such things as: uneven ground, spiky/thorny plants, deep water, loose rocks & walling, slippery paving etc Students and volunteers must accept all our guides/terms produced for their well-being, health and safety.