Fresh air, veg and banter at new Leeds allotment space

Nick Coulter planting up his plot six weeks after the site opened.. Picture Tony Johnson
Nick Coulter planting up his plot six weeks after the site opened.. Picture Tony Johnson
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Gardeners are overjoyed that a Leeds allotments is open for business after a six-year wait – and want people to take advantage of its “beautiful spot”.

Alwoodley Allotment Society has finally opened up its 84 plots at 4.6 acres of former farmland off Eccup Moor Road.

Derek Hanton, Chair of Alwoodley Allotment Society.

Derek Hanton, Chair of Alwoodley Allotment Society.

This follows a campaign of “begging, badgering and outright belligerence” to lease the grounds from Leeds City Council via the suburb’s own parish council.

The society’s chairman Derek Hanton said: “It’s so rewarding to actually see the plots being taken and it’s just a fantastic feeling that we’ve achieved it after all this time.

“It’s good exercise and we’re in the fresh air. It’s a fantastic environment, it’s a beautiful spot. We’re in the countryside, we’ve got red kites flying about and birds in the hedgerows.

“And there’s camaraderie amongst the gardeners, we all have a bit of fun and banter.”

Tenants busy on their plots.

Tenants busy on their plots.

The society, which boasts more than 50 members, has been at the site for six weeks, sprucing the spot up and planting to get crops ready for the spring time bloom.

Onion and garlic planting has taken place and retired retail worker Mr Hanton, 70, hopes to see his fruit bushes, potatoes, carrots, peas and beans flourish.

He is even saving a plot for his grandchildren Lucy, seven, and six-year-old Charlie.

There are also plans for the space to be used by disabled gardeners from next year.

Forty-eight of the plots have been taken up already, but the society wants to see more people digging.

Member Graham Smith, 69, said: “It’s excellent. We’ve been at it for quite a long time.

“When we arrived on site and saw grass that was three feet high and nettles it was quite daunting.

“It’s transformed. People say it’s amazing how much we’ve done in six weeks.

“It’s great exercise – I’ve gone down two trouser sizes!”

The site is mainly there for Alwoodley residents to use, but the group are happy for people who live nearby to get in touch and enquire about renting a plot for £48 a year.

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