Bisley Allotments

Bisley Allotments

Bisley Allotments are GrowingThe Urban Pollinators Team at the Universities of Bristol, Reading and Edinburgh have found that allotments can make a wonderful habitat for pollinators – vegetables, flowers, fruit trees and compost heaps – all can provide pollen over the seasons. Visit their lovely website blog showing how to encourage pollinators with stunning photographs.

For some interesting background information about allotments, their history, heritage, and role in the community, see this research paper published by Lesley Acton, who is studying at UCL Institute of Archaeology.

This article in the Journal of Applied Ecology (PDF) about soil quality on allotments versus commercial agriculture has been flagged up by the NAS (National Allotment Association). 2015 is UNESCOS International Year of Soils so its very timely. The IYS will serve as a platform for raising awareness on the importance of sustainable soil management as the basis for food systems, essential ecosystem functions and better adaptation to climate change for present and future generations.

Bisley Allotment News – see our website

Action Points (PDF) from our annual ‘get together’ August 2019

Find out all about Master Gardeners (PDF)

The main gate, compost loo and Allotment Holders Hut has a coded lock. If by any chance any allotment tenant has not now got the code please could they contact Lesley, Allotment Warden.

The Chestergate Allotments are leased to the Parish Council from the Ancient Charities of Bisley. We have a thriving allotment holders group, many allotment holders keep chickens and one keeps friendly geese!

In 2003 the Parish Council Allotment Warden proposed a long-term strategy to revitalise the allotment site. It started with a small band of volunteers clearing disused allotments of rubbish and dividing huge allotments into smaller more manageable plots. A small grant from the District Council’s Rural Investment Fund helped to support the professional aspect of this project – making and mowing paths, ploughing unused plots, creating new accessible water tanks, etc (this fund has just been abolished and we feel it is a great loss for small community initiatives of this kind – giving them the encouragement needed to get going). There are now 50 allotments plots being worked; many by families with children. Now only two plot holders have a plot that is the original historical size.

The allotment holders hold a meeting during National Allotments Week in August at which issues are discussed. As a result of discussions, the allotments are mowed during the summer by the Parish Council contractor, we have accessible water on site, Stroud Valleys Project rent a plot for group activities, and we now have a compost loo. This has been supported by the Charity of the Ancient Parish of Bisley, the Parish Council and Bisley Community Composting Scheme.

Mike Banyard was the longest standing allotment grower. He took over his father’s allotment in the early 1950’s, and died, still tending his plot, in 2014. His family gave the community donations to the allotment in Mike’s memory.

The second stage of the revitalisation strategy was the now very successful Bisley Community Composting Scheme. The Bisley Community Composting Scheme (BCCS) is a members-only scheme that takes garden waste, composts it in large bins and makes it available to members as soil conditioner (unsieved) or, for a small donation, as sieved and bagged green compost. BCCS is located, along with Bisley allotments and the community orchard, at the edge of the village on the Stroud Road.

The third stage of the revitalization of the allotment’s site is our Community Orchard of local Gloucestershire fruit trees. This project is supported by Bisley village residents who voted to give the money won as a result of Bisley’s Calor Gas ‘Gloucestershire Environment Village of the Year’ Award 2008 to this idea, and by the C02 Fund. An orchard workshop led by Dave Kaspar of Days Orchard (Apple Juice) during Bisley’s Zero Waste Week was well attended.

If you want to get healthy (Bisley’s own ‘green gym’), grow your own fruit and vegetables, keep chickens or rabbits, then there is nothing better than to rent an allotment. For ideas on growing potatoes see Stroud Potato Day.

Rent is £15 a year per allotment. Rents will now be from September to September.

Contact me on:
tel 01452 770018

Lesley Greene
Allotment Warden

For allotments in Eastcombe and Oakridge, see our Parish Directory.

Bisley Community Orchard

The Community Orchard is maintained by active volunteers, but also by the donations given to the community in memory of Lyn Hemming. The community orchard group is grateful to Lyn’s family for this generous gift.

The volunteers were busy weeding, staking and mulching in October.

On Sunday 5 May 2013, 30 friends, family and members of the Bisley Community Orchard Group gathered on site to celebrate the Cotswold Tree Wardens presentation of a memorial tree to commemorate Lyn Hemming. Ann Jones, Chair of CTW, gave a lovely speech honouring Lyn’s work, as Bisley Tree Warden, with them. The tree they have presented is a very rare Gloucestershire indigenous variety of perry pear. This critically endangered type is called a ‘beetroot pear’ (Pyrus sp. var. Beetroot Pear – Wick Court Ella) because of its red stems. We can hear Lyn laughing at that, and looking forward, in heaven, to a good quaff!

The mayor of Plessala, Joseph Sauve, planted a tree in the Bisley Community Orchard during the Twinning Association visit over the 2012 Jubilee weekend.

Bisley Community Orchard Group held a Planting and Wassail afternoon on Sunday February 26th following the Award of Edible Hedgerow Trees from the Woodland Trust.

Planting the Jubilee Queen’s Oak and singing the Bisley Community Orchard Song

Visit to Eastington Community Orchard
Visit to Eastington Community Orchard

The third stage of the revitalization of the Bisley Allotment’s site is our community orchard of local Gloucestershire fruit trees. The idea was to celebrate Gloucestershire’s varieties, provide a community fruit resource for the village, and help enhance biodiversity by creating new habitat for bees and other wildlife.

Bisley village residents voted to give the £400 money won as a result of Bisley’s Calor Gas ‘Gloucestershire Environment Village of the Year’ Award 2008 to this project. A further £600 grant was raised from the 02 Fund.

Planting the trees – Lyn Hemming, Kate, Michael and Clare Garrett, Rob Wheeler, Susie Bromley in the background. Photo by Lesley Greene
Planting the trees – Lyn Hemming, Kate, Michael and Clare Garrett, Rob Wheeler, Susie Bromley in the background. Photo by Lesley Greene

To start the project, Dave Kaspar of Days Orchard (Day’s Apple Juice) led a well attended orchard workshop during Bisley’s Zero Waste Week in January 2009. A plan for the new community orchard was devised by Jilly Cobbe with the help of the Trustees of the Charity of the Ancient Parish of Bisley who own the Chestergate Allotment site and lease it to the Parish Council.

The Community Orchard Group bought 17 indigenous Gloucestershire Apple varieties and two perry pears. Planting was delayed by the terrible winter of 2009-10 but finally 25 people came together and the little trees were planted on 7 February 2010. We celebrated with home made apple cakes and apple juice and a wonderful song written specially for our Orchard by Bairbre McAteer. We sang the song and celebrated our orchard:

A blessing on our trees
For our Bisley community.
May you grow up strong
And give us fruit all harvest long.
We’ll plant you firm and true
May it rain and shine on you.
Here’s wishing us good cheer
And see you back again next year.

For more information on orchards and orchard conservation see the Orchard Network website.

For more information on the Cotswold Tree Wardens see their website.