The old allotments in Love Lane, Coddenham are a refuge for wildlife with toads, frogs, grass snakes, slow worms, dragonflies, and a host of different butterflies and bees.
The site was only re-opened in 2009 and an enthusiastic response from villagers saw great demand for the plots – so much so, that to avoid disappointment some plots were halved and shared.
The land had not been cultivated for some time so we began with the hard tasks of clearing shrubs, brambles and tree stumps and cutting grass turfs to move to one side.
The allotments now provide a source of healthy outdoor exercise for local residents and are a place to catch up with friends and neighbours. Younger villagers really enjoy getting involved and it helps foster in them an enthusiasm for wildlife and gardening.
We are currently involved with Suffolk Wildlife Trust through their Networking Nature project. A group of us met with community conservation adviser Leonie Washington and she gave advice about managing the allotment in a wildlife friendly way and creating habitats for the benefit of key species such as reptiles, amphibians, hedgehogs and pollinators.
Enthused by her visit we went away to plan the beginnings of an informal allotment association with occasional workdays to tidy the allotment and create a wildlife woodpile, compost heap and hedgerow improvements. One resident is even planning to build a hedgehog tunnel under her new shed.
Allotment holders are supportive of village events entering vegetables and flowers in village fete competitions, giving supporting evidence for village of the year competitions, and inviting visitors to the allotments in Coddenham’s Open Gardens event.
We look forward to the new season and experimenting with some of the intriguing ideas suggested to us by Leonie such as “The Three Sisters”, a legend of the Iroquois people (Native North Americans) who believed that corn, beans and squash were three inseparable sisters and would only grow and thrive together.
By Colin Hardy – local resident