General Allotment Site Information

This page is not intended to replace any information which is provided by the Council. The aim is merely to pull the main allotment-related information together in a single place.

Page lasted updated on September 27th, 2021.

Cardinal Rule

While you are largely left in peace, within the rules of your tenancy agreement, we are a community, albeit a loosely-coupled one. Therefore, it is important that you do not do anything that will adversely affect the enjoyment of other plot holders. Any problems which cannot be amicably resolved between plot holders should be referred to the Council.

The Gates

It is the responsibility of all plot holders to ensure that the gates are locked when there is nobody on the site. Please check when you leave and, if you are the last person out, lock the gates. Ensure that the lock is under the piece of “wellie” which is there to protect it from the worst of the weather.

Always remember to have your key to the lock with you whenever you come to the site. Apart from getting in, if the gates are locked when you arrive, it will allow you to get out if somebody accidently locks you in. Familiarise yourself with the instructions for unlocking the gate from the inside if you are ever locked in. If it is unclear how to get out then see this set of blow-by-blow instructions.

The Council issued some guidance on gate security in late April, 2021. Here is a copy.

Bonfires

There is a metal cage, commonly known as “the incinerator”, in the SE corner of the site that you can use to burn your prunings. There is no service. It is your responsibility to burn your own material. Here are some common-sense notes:

  • If any material is compostable then do not burn it. There have been examples of people leaving weeds and even grass cuttings for burning!
  • Metal, plastic and any other material which is likely to give off toxic fumes should not be burned
  • Treated timber should ideally not be burned. The reason for saying this is that some plot holders may use the ash from bonfires as a fertiliser on their plots, and they might simply be incorporating harmful chemicals into their soil. It is therefore recommended that you remove treated timber from the site and take it to the tip
  • Material should not be brought onto the site for burning
  • Do not leave material for burning next to the incinerator or within it. Nearby plot holders should not be faced with untidy piles of waste. Keep it on your own plot until you are ready to burn it
  • Do not upset neighbours or other plot holders with the smoke from your bonfire. With this in mind: choose a day when there is no wind, or when the wind is coming from a northerly direction, resulting in the smoke drifting towards the farm; and choose a time when there are unlikely to be other people around, e.g. early morning or evening
  • The leaves from freshly cut prunings will produce a lot of smoke, due to the moisture content. If they have been left for a while to dry out the smoke will be much less pronounced
  • Do not leave bonfires unattended.

Plot Paths

Each plot holder is responsible for maintaining the grass paths around his or her plot. The basic rule is that you are responsible for the paths to the north and to the east of your plot. In addition, if there is no neighbouring plot to either the south or west of your plot then you are also responsible for those paths. For example, if your plot is adjacent to one of the main “roads” on the site then you are responsible for the grassed strip between your plot and the “road”. The site map has little arrows on it which indicate the paths that are the responsibility of each plot.

Please note that you are not responsible for maintaining the path edges of those neighbouring plots.

Plot Inspections

The Council carries out plot inspections. If you have a valid reason for not cultivating your plot, such as health issues, then it is recommended that you inform the Council as soon as possible. Do not wait for them to pursue you for having an overgrown plot. If the Council does have cause to contact you about non-cultivation, please make sure that you reply to any email or letter. Do not simply ignore it.

Water Supply

The water is turned off over the autumn and winter to prevent damage to the exposed pipes during freezing weather. The water is turned on for the season around the time that the clocks go forward in March, and off when the clocks go back in late October.

Hose pipes can be used except when they have been banned during periods of water shortage. However, they must only be used when you are present on the site.

Water Tanks

It would help to keep the tanks reasonably clean if they are not used to wash crops or tools. Use a bucket of water to do such cleaning, and then empty the dirty water onto your plot. It would be useful if an old bucket and washing-up brush was left next to each tank to facilitate this cleaning.

Recycling

The seat near the car park is used as a recycling point for crops, seeds, plants, tools et cetera. It is a system that works well. However, do remember that if something that you have put on the seat is not taken within a reasonable period of time then it is your responsibility to remove it. It seldom happens that items are not taken, but when it does it is more likely to be tools or other non-perishable items.

Dumping

Please do not dump any material anywhere on the site. Please remove all your unwanted material from the site. In particular, please note that the incinerator area is not a place for plot holders to simply offload any rubbish from their allotment. Clods of soil cannot be burnt! .. plastic would produce toxic fumes .. metal is very unlikely to melt .. et cetera, et cetera.

Dogs

They were banned from the site in the 1960s after problems with uncontrolled dogs. Your tenancy agreement states that they are not allowed onto the site without the written permission of the Council, which will only be given in exceptional circumstances.

Best Allotment Competition

The Council runs this competition each season. If you do not wish to take part then let the Council know early in the season..

Your New Plot

If you are a new plot holder, or you have taken on another plot, then you will have accepted it “as seen” .. or sometimes not as seen, e.g. when unwanted items such as carpets or weed suppressant material may be subsequently unearthed. Whatever the situation, you are responsible for everything that you have inherited. Therefore, please adhere to the following:

  • Do not dump unwanted material from the plot elsewhere on the site, as previously mentioned.
  • Follow the bonfire etiquette, as previously described, if you plan to burn any prunings
  • And finally, do not skim the top off overgrown areas and dump the sods elsewhere on the site.

Volunteering for site maintenance

Apart from regular tasks such as grass cutting of the common parts during the season, the majority of site maintenance work tends to be carried out over the autumn and winter months. While the Council performs the heavier tasks, it would help to keep the site in reasonable condition if plot holders can contribute to any other tasks which need doing. Therefore, please consider volunteering to help out. Tasks can often be undertaken by individuals at times of their choosing. This is not to say that they cannot be carried out by working parties where this approach is preferred.

Here are details of the planned maintenance for the autumn and winter months (2021-2022), along with the names of those plot holders who have volunteered to carry them out.

Resources

The operation of the gates can sometimes be confusing to new plot holders. As mentioned earlier, here is a set of blow-by-blow instructions.

Here is the site map, which can also be found on the allotments page of the Council website and on the noticeboard in the car park.

Here are details of the planned site maintenance for the autumn and winter months (2021-2022).

Some years ago, the general experiences of around a dozen plot holders were collated in an attempt to provide some, hopefully useful, information for any new plot holders who have had little or no experience of cultivating on an allotment. They were written up in the form of the following two web pages

New to an Allotment
Approaches to Cultivation

They are not intended to replace allotment books. Indeed, some books are recommended in the New to an Allotment web page.

Plot holders, mainly but not always newcomers, have periodically asked specific cultivation questions. The questions and the responses can be found on the FAQs from plot holders page.

Finally, if you are interested in local history generally, or simply in the history of our site, then A History of Sunningdale Allotments may prove to be a useful read.

Feedback

Any comments or suggestions for additional content are welcome. Go to the Contact Me page, complete the form and submit it. We will get back to you as soon as possible.