Lower Roedale allotment site is located north of the Hollingdean housing estate and south of the Hollingbury hill fort. It is bordered on its western edge by the golf course. It is accessed by the track near Lynchett Close. The City Council lists 122 plots at this site.
Peter Barker on the site:
“My allotment plot is at the top end of the Lower Roedale allotments, which I always think is a funny name, because it’s on the top of a hill.
Peter on the climate and soil conditions:
“It’s difficult to say what our climate is. I don’t know whether I should blame global warming or just strange things like that. We’ve certainly had very different weather, last year was very wet, whereas this year we had a drought, or at least a hosepipe ban. The soil was incredibly dry; watering every day was a necessity. I thought it was going to be a very wet year, judging by last year and the rains at the start of the year so I ridged up my soil for good drainage. Then of course when the drought happened the ridged up soil became too dry, so it was the wrong thing to do. The one thing I can say about the climate that’s pretty predictable is the weather is very windy and we get big gales in spring and this year in summer as well. It [Lower Roedale] suffers from high winds being on the top of a hill. My corn was blown over and my beanpoles are at a jaunty angle now, and most of the Jerusalem artichokes got blown about. So the big problem is the wind, mostly everything else is good. Generally it’s sunny. It’s quite good soil; quite good – it takes some improvement.
Developments at Lower Roedale
“The allotments on Lower Roedale, they have been shortened. The area was roughly halved in size when a new housing estate was built to the south of it. So the land is seen as up for grabs by most town developers, so that seems to be a bit disappointing from people on high. Whereas the Allotment Associations and the people who want to take up allotments, they seem to be always present. The Open Day at the allotments some weeks back had twice as many people sign up for allotments as there were allotments, so in theory all the allotments are used all the time. I think that allotments are seen more as a convenient holding space for development land than they are as any health-giving, or productive, or socially useful land in another sense. It’s just seen as a parking lot to be developed as far as I can see from on top, whereas of course on the ground people love them. “We’ll fight them on the allotments!” [laughs].”
Andrew Webb contrasts Roedale Valley and Lower Roedale
“They’re quite similar – things will germinate much the same, temperatures are the same, things will be in flower round about the same time. There is a big difference in that Lower Roedale is very open, it’s windier, it’s an open hill site, whereas the [Roedale] valley, what with it not only being a valley, but bordered by trees all the way round its warmer with its own microclimate. There’s less wind, which is very good for some things, but it means it’s more susceptible to potato blight – that sort of thing can be more of a problem here [Roedale Valley]. Rabbits are more of a problem at Roedale Valley. They’re only just starting to become a bit of a problem at Lower Roedale. I haven’t netted my plot with chicken wire at Lower Roedale, but I have here at Roedale Valley, because if I didn’t I’d just get everything eaten.”