In 2009, a handful of parish residents, unhappy with their postage stamp sized gardens, started a grass-roots campaign to bring community allotments to Great Chart and Singleton. With waiting times for the local Ashford allotments being measured in years, the group was adamant that community allotments had a place in this parish. The group called themselves The Barrow & Spade Brigade and quickly elicited over 40 people who were interested in taking an allotment. Armed with these numbers, the group approached the parish council for support and the search for an appropriate piece of land began.

After five years of hard work and with great support from the Parish Council; local Ashford Borough Councillors Amanda Hodgkinson and Jessamy Blanford; and then Kent County Councillors Jim Wedgbury and Richard King, land has finally been transferred to the Parish Council for use as allotments.

The Barrow & Spade Brigade’s new parish allotments are located in the field off Hillcrest in Great Chart. The first phase of plot layout has been carried out with the provision of 17 allotments for local residents and the site has capacity for at least another 10 plots.

Chair of the committee, Alisa Yingling said ‘At times this project was an uphill battle but we received wonderful support from the community. It has been exhilarating to actually be on my plot digging.  Fingers crossed for some good summer weather and maybe a little harvest to get the first growing season off right!’

Allotmenteers already involved in digging their plots have enjoyed the fresh air, the great view and the chance to chat to local dog-walkers who frequent the field. The group was formed with a strong ethos to remain connected to the community and welcome the opportunity to work with any local groups who may wish to be part of the initiative.

If anyone is interested in a plot, please contact the Parish Clerk thelcerkgcwspc@gmail.com.  All plot holders must be a resident of the parish.

And if you are out for a walk on the hill, please stop by and say hello!