Secret Gardens: Black Rock Rejuvenation Project, Brighton

This week’s #SecretGarden takes us down to the English coast at Brighton.

Kew Gardens' horticulturalists have helped to create this secret garden in Brighton

1000 plants have been grown at Kew Gardens’ Millennium Seedbank nearby at Wakehurst botanic garden. The Millennium Seedbank was set up in the millennium year to collect and preserve over 2 billion seeds from around the world, to protect plant life from extinction. Nearly all the native plants from the UK have now been conserved at the seed bank! 

 Brighton, English coast, beach, black rock, ecology trail, Kew Gardens, nature walks, Above: the young plants grown by Kew's horticulturalists

Cuttings from plants such as sea kale (Crambe maritima) were originally taken from what was growing at Black Rock, and then nurtured by Kew’s horticulturalists alongside plants grown from seed, including yellow horned poppies (Glaucium flavum) and bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara).

common mallow, Brighton, black rock, beachAbove: other plants growing on the beach include common mallow (Malva sylvestris), commonly found across the UK on coasts and roadsides


Now planted along the shingle beds of the Brighton coast, they are part of the local council’s Black Rock Rejuvenation Project. The idea is to create a wildlife site which will encourage the growth of a new ecosystem, improving the biodiversity of the area.

Brighton, English coast, beach, black rock, ecology trail, Kew Gardens, nature walks, Above: the 'wave' shaped planting beds


The young plants have been planted in ‘wave’ shaped beds; a series of long, mounds or dunes between which the plants are growing. The shape and height of these ‘waves’ protects the plants from harsh coastal weather like salt spray and high winds, giving them the best opportunity to grow and thrive.


Things to see and do

Visitors and residents can walk along the new 850m boardwalk, made from 220 tonnes of up-cycled plastic composite decking, and follow the ecology trail to see the new plants.

 Brighton, English coast, beach, black rock, ecology trail, Kew Gardens, nature walks, volks electric railway Above: the ecology trail and boardwalk as seen from the electric railway


You can even take a ride along the seafront on Volk’s Electric Railway, the oldest continuously running electric railway in the world!

See more on our Instagram @stormflowersgarden

How to get there

Travel: Blackrock Beach is about a 45 minute walk from Brighton Station. Bus routes 12 Coaster, 12A Coaster, 14 and 27 will take you from the station to Marine Gate, a 6 minute walk from the beach. Car parking is available at Black Rock Car Park on Madeira Drive, see up to date information on the Brighton and Hove website

Entry: Free

Opening times: You can visit the new boardwalk on the beach all year round