Do you want to eat more healthily in 2017? Aldborough residents reveal their secret...

Aldborough Allotments Association is inviting new members to join them. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Aldborough Allotments Association is inviting new members to join them. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: Archant

Growing trend may surprise you.

Aldborough Allotments Association is inviting new members to join them. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Aldborough Allotments Association is inviting new members to join them. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: Archant

They are a good source of many vitamins and minerals, yet most of us don't eat enough of them.

Fruit and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet and nutritional experts encourage everyone to eat five portions a day.

Now Aldborough Allotments Association is inviting everyone who made a resolution to eat more healthily in the new year to grow their own to ensure they get the freshest pick of the crop and save money.

It has several full and half plots available for rent to the public on farmland behind the community centre, just off Chapel Lane, from just £15 a year.

Aldborough Allotments Association is inviting new members to join them. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Aldborough Allotments Association is inviting new members to join them. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: Archant


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According to the NHS, gardening is a good way to be more physically active. It may also help relieve stress and improve mental wellbeing.

Getting children involved, it says, can also be a good way to encourage them to eat more fruit and vegetables and try different varieties.

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And, according to the current plot-holders, it's easier than many think.

Trainee early years teacher Teresa Dowding, who has developed a plot with the help of her five-year-old son Elio, said: 'We've had an allotment here since 2012. Although we live in the countryside we have a very small garden and I wanted to be able to grow things and also get my son involved in growing things and learning about nature. He's been coming since he was able to walk and we've built a den made out of willow.'

Aldborough Allotments Association is inviting new members to join them. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Aldborough Allotments Association is inviting new members to join them. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: Archant

Once the preserve of elderly gents, the pastime now attracts people from all walks of life: young and old, male and female, obsessive and relaxed.

Teresa, who isn't the only mum to maintain a plot in Aldborough, is also a supporter of Forest Schools, which offer a unique educational experience using the outdoor environment of the forest as a classroom.

She added: 'Forest School is about getting children out in nature, particularly in woodland and wild spaces, and not only learning about those spaces but building confidence and self esteem through those spaces.'

Aldborough allotments, which opened in 2005, was the brainchild of local resident Sue Metcalf, who spotted a similar scheme in Norwich. She signed up 12 friends and then approached local farmer John Hammond, who agreed to rent out an acre of land.

Aldborough Allotments Association is inviting new members to join them. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Aldborough Allotments Association is inviting new members to join them. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: Archant

However, the association's secretary revealed a drop in interest has led to some of the site becoming overgrown - including raised beds aimed at wheelchair users and the bog garden which was designed by local schoolchildren.

And, with gardening tools provided on the allotments, she is hoping new tenants can dig in to spruce it up.

Sue, who reveals she grows leeks, raspberries, and broad beans on her half plot, said: 'If we have vacant plots they soon get overgrown so it looks untidy.'

And she added: 'We would encourage everyone to give it a go.

'We've had barbeques in the summer and it brings the community together.'

The allotments have been divided into 17 full and half-size plots.

Keen gardener David Haynes, chairman of Aldborough Allotments Association, helped his son, Steven, with his plot and enjoyed it so much he took one on himself.

He now grows a variety of fruit and vegetables including blackberries, raspberries, apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, and corgettes.

David, whose plot includes a scarecrow sporting an Aldborough Cricket Club jacket, said: 'My son, Steven, had a plot and I came to give him a hand and I thought: 'This is good, I'll take one on myself.' He's given his up now and he's helping me with mine.

'I have a lot of fruit because I have a polytunnel. If you keep it clean (maintained), it's easy going. But, if you don't, it can get overwhelmed a bit.

'We've got a bit of a job to tidy all these up now. We've got one or two spare plots. There are one or two who have taken them on but we've not seen much of them.

'We're hoping more will come along but there doesn't appear to be so many interested in them.'

Are you interested in taking on an allotment? Anyone interested in finding out more is invited to call Sue Metcalf on 01263 761310.

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