Page 65 - ALG Issue 4 2019
P. 65

 South West
Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset
Mr Neil Dixon
12 Flamstead Crescent, Kings Tamerton, Plymouth PL5 2AX 01752 363379
Allan Cavill
South West 07748178964
 Welcome to our new members...
Bristol City Council
Bove Moor Close Allotment Association Grampound Road Allotment Society Lescudjack Hill Fort Allotmenteers Yeovil Marsh Allotment Society
7 Individual Members
    Update from South Devon
Another hot summer! With climate change around the corner, allotments are becoming more important
every year for their biodiversity and encouragement of wildlife. Anything we can do to lower our carbon footprint must be good! We also have a ‘Who
can grow the tallest sunflower?’ competition (mainly for children, but lots of adults have grown some too) and a Scarecrow competition, as we have quite a few families on our fields. We have our annual produce competition, best allotment, and photographic competition as well as our annual prize-giving social event.
We now have the first half of our Lottery-funded wildlife area finished thanks to a lot of hard work, particularly by Chris and Mike. It includes a pond, with a fence to lean on (for safety
for young children) to look at all the dragonflies, frogs and other pond life, and a lovely bench to sit on to meditate. Also, there are flowers galore, trees, shrubs and weeds – but nettles are good for insects, aren’t they? One of our other fields is also planning a wildlife area to enjoy too. Step One Services Limited, who have an allotment
and work with people with learning difficulties and mental health, helped with the clearing of the wildlife area and have now made several bat and bird boxes to go on nearby trees. We know we have bats around, as our annual bat monitoring shows we have several rare species who love our allotments. 25% of our plots can promote wildlife and their habitats.
We have been spreading the word that allotments are important for the environment. Our market stall during National Allotments Week was very wet with all the rain but we did get some people talking to us and looking at our display of all the wildlife areas we are promoting, including one new person to sign up for an allotment. We had music once again, organised by a fellow allotmenteer and friends
– what a myriad of talent we have, which cheered up passers-by. We also held a bat and moth event on Saturday. Nigel and Nick organised it,
with borrowed bat monitors so that we could hear their calls, and a special techno piece of equipment which told us which bat we were listening to. We registered: common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, noctule and lesser noctule. Quite exciting when bats are whizzing about. We also soaked rags in wine and sugar, had a lovely mixture of treacle and sugar to paint on trees, and had two light boxes to attract the moths. Our 8-year-old participant loved it and was going to tell them at school what she had seen and heard. Tea and cake events were held and enjoyed by many over the summer, and then worked off on the allotment! We had an article in the local Mid-Devon Advertiser, and
I went on Radio Devon to speak to
Toby Buckland (a gardening guru) on Sunday 18th around 11.05 – 11.45am.
I managed to mention the National Society and the help they are giving allotments to safeguard their future and plugged the national website. I enjoyed the interview and was able
to let people know how important allotments are, both for communities and the environment if we are to meet the challenges of the future including climate change, whilst sharing my own journey re allotmenting.
In response to the NAS Vice Chair’s comments and the future of allotments in Issue 2 of the National Magazine, I have only been part of the committee for the past two years and I have seen it change considerably during that time. We are a not-for-profit limited company (since 1919), who manage five fields with 388 half plots. This may soon increase because of local housing development money set aside for the purpose of providing new allotments. Newton Abbot Town Council (NATC) are our landlords for three of the fields, the other two are owned by a local farmer. Last year we invested in the Colony Enterprise Allotment Management system to make it easier to send out newsletters, other information, and manage the yearly rentals, to name a few of the improvements. However, we are mindful not to exclude people who are not computer literate, or do not want to use one, by having information
We now have the first half of our Lottery- funded wildlife area finished thanks to a lot of hard work
boards at all sites for posters and
other information. We have a Five-Year Plan developed with the Council and have now reviewed all our policies and consents in consultation with NATC, committee members and allotment holders. A lot to do for volunteers, but
it was precipitated by data protection changes. We researched what other organisations were doing and looked at the National Allotment Society website as well as others, which was helpful. See our website for further information:
Happy Allotmenting.
Meryl Basham
Newton Abbot and District
P.S. We were inspired by a previous article in the magazine; this was of an allotment that joined the National Garden Scheme – watch out for NADCAA in next year’s booklet.
            Allotment and Leisure Gardener 65

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