Allotments

Note to all allotment holders – if you’d like to enter The Milford & Makeney Flower & Produce Show in September 2024, please see the web page here for more details.

Bridge View Allotments

Reputed to be some of the earliest allotments in England, the land was bought in 1832 by The Strutts and converted to allotments for their workers in Milford. It is still owned by The Strutt Estate. There are 43 allotments in all, and they cover an extensive area, flowing down the hill from Bridge View, past East Terrace and West Terrace, above the former Holy Trinity Church and then down to the A6, occupying most of the land between the church and the Children’s Play Area. The Milford Community Greenspace (see website here) has taken the 3 allotments above the Holy Trinity Church.

Now open for anyone living within a 5 mile radius of the Bridge View Allotments to rent, they are run by the Bridge View Allotment Association (of which all the allotment holders are members). Regular meetings of the Allotment Association are arranged, including an AGM towards the end of November where the holders of posts on the association are voted in. Currently the chair is Maureen Kingman, treasurer Carol Hawley and secretary David Moreton. Rents for the following January are also agreed at the AGM.

Here are copies of the minutes:

Report of the meeting held on Tuesday 26 September 2023

Proposal from Landlord

Following the above proposal from the Strutt Estate to gift the allotments to the allotment association, an Extraordinary General Meeting was called for 7th December 2023. A discussion paper for the meeting was prepared, below.

EGM 071223 Discussion paper on Landlord’s proposal

At the EGM it was decided that more information about the liabilities the group would be taking on be gathered before the final decision whether to accept the Strutt Estate’s offer or not be made, and a second EGM, on the 22nd February 2024, 6pm in the Social Club, be held to make this final decision. It was also decided that the association should convert itself into a co-op. This would make the transfer of land and application for grants easier. The terms and conditions of the co-op will also have to be agreed at the February EGM. Allotment holders please make every effort to attend the February EGM – important decisions on the future of the allotments will need to be made by you there.

Several new initiatives have been started recently. The first was annual inspections of allotments. This started in July 2023 and following the inspection two holders of uncultivated allotments were asked to relinquish their plots.

A big disadvantage of the site is that it has no mains water, and so the second initiative in 2023 was to try to rectify this. A grant was obtained from Belper Town Council for Severn Trent to survey the site, who thought there was a pipe running from Bridge View to the end of East Terrace and suggested we try to find it. Fruitless digging of several large holes along the supposed route of the pipe was undertaken but no pipe was found – it turns out it was terminated at the Bridge View end.  Connecting water to the site at the Bridge View end would cost £3000 at least, and looked to be technically very difficult. In consequence in September 2023 (see minutes above) the idea was abandoned, in favour of building a large rainwater collection device for all the allotments.

The third initiative has been formation of starter plots to encourage younger/new allotment holders. Two overgrown allotments were cleared by a 15 strong work party of volunteers over a weekend in February 2023 – pictures below.

Before clearance

During clearance

Removal of trees

Clearance complete.

The area was split into 4 starter allotments, all of which were taken, and they are all being cultivated.

Will Durkin by his starter allotment

The process took place all over again in January 2024, this time clearing allotments that the former tenants relinquished after the July 2023 inspection.

Two large parties of volunteers cleared the allotments over the 19th and 20th January – for more details and photos than below see the article here.

Overgrown allotments before clearance

End of day 1 – allotments nearly cleared of overgrowth

End of Day 2 – allotments completely cleared and starting to be dug over.

These newly cleared allotments will be split into four half allotments.

If you live within 5 miles of the Bridge View Allotments (the former Holy Trinity Church at the bottom of the allotments to be precise), there are several plots available for rent at present (including the plots recently cleared as described above), and other plots of varying sizes may become available at any time.

If you would like to go on the waiting list just drop an email to chawley79@gmail.com  including your address and contact details.

Mart’s Meadow

Mart’s Meadow is a smaller and newer set of allotments, situated between the A6 and the River Derwent just south of the bottom end of the riverside path in the Hopping Mill Meadow estate. See here for a write up of how these allotments were created.

To find out if there are any allotments available to rent on Mart’s Meadow, e-mail helen.franny@btinternet.com

Interestingly, there were once more Strutt allotments on the Hopping Mill Meadow site, but higher up near the weir, in the 1900’s. The new interpretation board at the weir on the riverside path has a picture of these old allotments, which at the time spread all the way from the weir to the A6.