Page 46 - ALG Issue 2 20202
P. 46

Northumberland, Cumbria and Durham
    A Flagship Haven
An allotment! At last! The phone call finally came and confirmed that I was to be the delighted tenant of a half plot, very near to my home. I was so excited! Maybe there would be a neat little shed for me to put my tools in; maybe there was a polytunnel – tidy, if a little worn; oh, maybe...!
The appointed day came and, full of excitement, I rushed around the corner to Cartgate Allotments. I’d always viewed it as a pretty set of allotments; neatly arrayed and well-tended.
I wasn’t wrong.
Walking between the established plots
I could see evidence of a great deal of care and attention. The real shock came when, on being shown my new plot, I saw nothing but a piece of untouched land. No shed, no polytunnel, nothing at all. A genuine blank canvas. Undeterred, I signed the lease and the very hard work began. Almost immediately I injured myself. The local cavalry swiftly came to the rescue. Simon Watts is the Chairman of the Cartgate Allotment Society and he quickly got my plot fenced and turned over. Within the year, I had the pretty shed, the crisp, new polytunnel and several raised beds.
Cartgate allotments are rented out
by Whitehaven Town Council (WTC). They run regular inspections and
have us clearly graded as ‘Flagship Allotments’. They are delighted with the time and care taken by all who work the allotments and the neatness and general upkeep of the place. WTC do running repairs and ensure we have a good mains water supply.
Simon Watts and a dedicated team care for the cutting of the grass around each allotment; they maintain all the power tools and equipment that we can borrow and have acquired a container in which to safely house the equipment and store compost to purchase. About 30 of us are in NSALG and we pay £5 a year to Simon for the work he and his team do. He meets with WTC every three months or so to resolve issues and report concerns.
The allotments have restrictions in that no fauna may be cultivated there i.e. bees, hens, ponds, etc. It is strictly flora only and flora with an edible purpose, including flowers to attract pollinators and keep aphids from the crops.
Many members take part in local onion and leek growing competitions and, in
I was so excited! Maybe there would be a neat little shed for me
the past, the allotments have had Open Days. I love my allotment and spend many a quiet and very enjoyable hour pottering about on it.
There’s always something to do and someone to chat to. It’s a haven from the bustle of daily life and I wouldn’t swop it for anything!
Esther Gigli, age 57 Whitehaven, West Cumbria
          46 Allotment and Leisure Gardener

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