The allotment site is leased from Great Gransden Parish Council. It came into ownership of the Council following the Enclosure Act in 1851 when, as a condition of the act, ‘A piece of land from 2 to 4 acres in extent should be allotted to the Parish “in the most appropriate situation, as a place of exercise and recreation for the inhabitants of the said Parish”. The piece of land assigned for this purpose was part of the old Cow Common a Field of 4.5 acres, on the right of the Caxton road, about a mile out of the Village, and consequently perfectly useless as a Recreation Ground’. (from “History of Great Gransden”).
It is interesting to reflect that now, 160 years on, the land is finally being used as originally intended! We began planning in 2007, and the first allotment plots were made available in May 2008. A second set of plots was allocated in October 2008.
The plots measure 25 metres by 6 metres. A community orchard was planted in stages during 2009/10. In the autumn of 2009 the Greenfingers project, which is an area of microplots for children, was opened, thanks to a grant from O2, a donation of timber raised beds from local firm Kingspan Potton, many donations from local individuals and much volunteer labour. On 5 June 2010, we attended a ceremony organised by Huntingdon District Council to celebrate environmental community efforts.
We are very proud that Gransdens Allotment Society won the award for Huntingdonshire Best Environmental Project 2010. We were given a trophy and a certificate to commemorate this success. 2011 saw the exciting addition of a wildlife pond and large wildflower meadow. Both are now well established, and add great interest to the site.
Great Gransden Parish Council successfully applied for a Lottery grant to install a composting toilet. This is really easy to maintain and is much appreciated by many of the plot-holders and Greenfingers children, as well as by visitors to our Open Days and other events. These composting toilets are ideal for allotments. To see how they work, click the NatSol link.
Every year so far, we have added further planting of trees and hedging around the site. Many of these new plants were supplied free by Huntingdonshire District Council as part of their Parish tree planting scheme, which has run for over 25 years. We sadly note that 2017 will be the last time trees come from this source, as it is being terminated. The range of trees includes Hazel, Wild Cherry, Alder, Aspen, Wild Plum, Wild Pear, Lime, Horse Chestnut, and Wild Service trees. We are pleased to say that some of these trees are now reaching a good size, and the security, shelter and natural habitat on site is being greatly enhanced.
Also, to commemorate the Queens Diamond Jubilee, Huntingdonshire District Council have donated a Walnut tree, which has been planted by the wildflower meadow. This is growing well and should provide a beautiful tree to sit under in years to come, and a harvest of walnuts too!
The Allotment Society would like to thank Bridget Halford, Landscape Officer & Tree Warden Co-Ordinator at Huningdonshire District Council, and Michael Capps, for providing guidance as to what trees to plant.