One Tree Hill Allotment Society
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Six miles from the Centre of London, our allotment site is an important environmental resource and part of a green corridor that is enjoyed by city wildlife as well as the human population. It is a 9 acre site on a steeply sloping hill with over 80 plots. We have a variety of gardening styles, including traditional allotment layouts, cottage-style gardens, raised beds, terraced areas and wildlife friendly plots. The slope of the site offers an exciting challenge!
Our plotholders represent the South London community we are part of. The wide mix of cultures is reflected in the range of produce grown. Olives, bananas, calliloo, physallis, Chinese melons, sweet potatoes have all been tried with varying degrees of success. We have many families with children - a wendy house has moved from plot to plot around the site as children who have outgrown it pass it on to younger ones who have joined the community. Some of our plotholders have worked their plots for decades and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. With the help of grants, we have installed a number of raised beds for people with disabilities and a compost toilet. We have recently been awarded a Cleaner Safer Greener grant by Southwark Council to help towards the installation of a new water supply.
We encourage organic and wildlife-friendly gardening methods on the site. Some plotholders grow heritage varieties from the Heritage Seed Collection. Recycling is a popular activity: plotholders are often seen scavenging in skips for items they can re-use on their plots, often in creative ways. Scaffold boards and poles are used to create terraces and raised beds, a whole path was laid with reclaimed paving slabs from a neighbouring house, leaking old water tanks have been patched up and put back into use in dry summers, sheds have been built from discarded materials.
We are constantly working to improve the site and we are lucky to have large areas of woodland for communal use which was originally planted to provide anchorage against landslip. We have recently set up a group to manage the communal areas more effectively for wildlife. We have many plans including a butterfly garden, a meadow area, a woodland trail, a communal pond, and a perimeter hedgerow. A number of plotholders have small ponds on their plots which attract frogs, newts, dragon flies and damsel flies. We have installed a number of bat and bird boxes. Lizards, foxes, and many different species of birds and insects are found as well. One plotholder has a number of beehives on the site and we also have an orchard area. We actively engage our members to participate in communal tasks, not only to the jobs get done - it is also a great way for plot holders to meet and get know each other.
In recent years we have been holding public open days and other events as we are keen for the local community to enjoy the site too. The site has been featured in a number of magazine articles and has had crews filming documentaries shown as far afield as New Zealand. Our 2009 apple-pressing day was visited by one of the Gardeners Question Time panellists. We have also hosted visits by local schools and childrens centres and we are keen to continue and develop these types of activities. We also hold social events for plotholders, for example bonfire night, midwinter events and barbeques in the summer.
Please see the applications page if you would like to apply for a plot or a raised bed.
Last updated 28 May 2012