There are some 40 allotments located in the heart of Buxted village. Anyone living in the civil parish of Buxted is eligible to rent one.
The allotment site is set in a landscape of mixed trees and farmland. It is enclosed within a rabbit and deer-proof boundary fence. Plot sizes vary and may be adjusted to suit the ambitions of most allotment-holders. The soil is fertile and well drained, comprising mainly alluvial silt overlying sandstone.
The land belongs to the Parish of Buxted, but the day-to-day management of the site is the responsibility of the Buxted Allotment Association on behalf of the Parish Council. The association was set up in May 2013 and offers allotment-holders more of a say in how the allotment site is run.
There is currently a good mix of young families and old hands cultivating the allotments and they have a range of knowledge and experience. So, it is easy to exchange ideas and pick up growing tips.
The rental rate for the 2020 agreement year (which started on 1st March) is 35p per square metre (that translates into £16 annual rent for the smallest allotment up to nearly £71 for the largest). On top of that there is an annual membership fee of £3 for the Buxted Allotment Association and £3 per named allotment-holder for membership of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (the benefits of this include personal insurance against claims for injury or damage, sight of a quarterly magazine and discounted seed prices). On taking up an allotment, the Parish Council requires a deposit of £40 per allotment which is refundable on expiry of the agreement providing the allotment is left in good order.
Since 2015 the association has created a community area with a rustic shelter where allotment-holders can exchange plants, crops, seed and gossip. In collaboration with Sussex Wildlife Trust, we have also established an orchard of heritage variety apple trees grown for us by the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale. We have planted a small copse of hazel which will be traditionally coppiced to provide pea sticks and bean poles for allotment-holders in the future. We have also created a wildlife area under the guidance of Sussex Wildlife Trust. This includes ponds and native trees and shrubs together with a mixed-species boundary hedge. This area will encourage pollinating insects and also natural predators to help allotment-holders manage their plots in a more environmentally sympathetic way. We have also created a composting facility for general use and this is already providing excellent compost for use by the allotment-holders on their plots.
In 2020 we will be working with Sussex Flow Initiative (a partnership of Sussex Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust, Environment Agency and Lewes Town Council) to introduce natural flood processes in a drainage ditch that takes run-off from Beechbrook Park and the land above down to the River Uck. This will contribute to the flood mitigation measures being introduced across the Ouse catchment.
Anyone interested in taking up an allotment should contact Rosemary de Bolla by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Over the last couple of years she has managed to meet every request for an allotment as it is rarely necessary to keep anyone on a waiting list for very long.
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