Frequently Asked Questions

Q :

woodmulchUK 8th November 2015

Claire Smith writes :
Subject: Wood chip
It is unfortunate that the pile of woodchip that was just outside of the allotment car park, has had to be moved due to it being in the way of the compound that is there.
This was a very beneficial resource to a lot of plot holders!

image004 2nd September 2015

I know we have been suffering with extreme amounts of rain for August, but I do have major concerns for my plot with the winter coming up as we are sure to have a lot more rain.

I have added 2 photos I took yesterday of the bottom corner of my plot where the numbered post is.  As you can see I have a large pool of water which is 2 spade’s depth and has not drained since the heavy rain of Wednesday 26th August.  I took out 3 potato plants and all the potatoes had rotted.  I shall be removing more plants today as I don’t think this amount of water is helping at all.  I am wondering if I will be able to grow anything in the bottom metre or two of my plot if this is how it is at the end of August.

When we took on our plot and found the problem of the clay soil just under the surface, we had the digger in to double-dig and incorporated 30 barrows of compost at the same time to improve our soil texture.

The problem now seems to be the paths around the plot.  The other 3 plots around plot 42 are all draining into this bottom corner due to the slope of the land.  The water is then stopped from going anywhere because it is hitting the clay walls of the paths.

My question is – is there any way in which we can put some kind of drainage into the paths to stop this from being an ongoing problem?
I don’t think I can be the only plot who is suffering from this problem and I know that drainage is a wider issue for the whole site.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this problem and how best we can rectify going forwards.

Kind Regards,
Sarah Webb


A : Sorry to hear about your water problems and loss of spuds. This is a poorly drained site overall and we have looked at ways to improve it but to do anything meaningful would cost upwards of £30,000. One of our committee is a flood engineer with the Environment Agency so we are fortunate to have his expertise and his view is that our only practical option is to go for raised beds of some kind as they will stay above the water level and those that have them are not waterlogged. We are all still learning about the site and how it behaves and are always looking at ways to improve the conditions. I agree with you that those of us that had the digger in may have just made big swimming pools with the paths as walls. We could try putting a pipe under the path but the scale of the site may not make this something that we could roll out everywhere and we would need to take this all the way through the fence and down to the ditch to ensure it was effective.

There are a lot of people with the same issue and there may be some more ideas that come from them but at the moment there doesn’t seem much we can do to radically improve things. I’ve read lots of forums on google about this and no one has a success story though apart from raised beds.


Matthew Chambers

 Q: 26th October 2015


Nicholas Tompkins writes :

I was just wondering if there was anyway we could bulk buy some wood for making raised beds as my plot like others has suffered badly from flooding? I personally have no idea what wood to use and hopefully it would help in keeping the costs down.
Thank you.