The Weald, Weald Avenue

View at the Weald Avenue site
Photo by Simon Tobitt
Weald Avenue Plot (Tony Marshall's)
Photo by Simon Tobitt

The Weald Avenue site in Hove is surrounded by a residential area on all sides. It is a large green rectangle, bordered by Nevill Avenue to the north, the Old Shoreham Road to the south, with the entrance at the north end of Weald Avenue itself. The City Council lists 336 plots at this site, which probably makes it the biggest in the city.

Tony Marshall on the Hove sunshine
“I am originally from the North of England, I know they have long winters there and a lot more frost, and they can’t grow some of the things that we do here. I mean, I’ve got peppers and aubergines. Although they don’t grow very big, I know they can’t grow those in the North. The influence of the sea air is good. We do get frosts, but they’re relatively rare. We get long hours of sunshine, quite mild most of the time. You can come out here in the winter, and if you are working you don’t need a jumper on. You can enjoy those days just as much as you can enjoy the hot summer days.”

Ruth Urbanowicz on the soil conditions
“There are two completely different soils in Brighton and Hove. The soil here [Weald Avenue], which is clay based, now this holds the moisture really well, so in drought on this site in Hove, we’re not going to suffer so much from things drying out.”

And Ninka Willcock
“In my other allotments [Roedale Valley and Tenantry Down] there were a lot of stones. Climate wise it’s the dryness; it’s fine if you live locally you can come along on a regular basis and water. The plants that I’ve newly put in are the only ones that get watered, at that point. A lot of the allotment has gone without manual watering for the whole season.”

Tony on the community at the Weald
“Everybody’s friendly. You don’t always know their names, but people always say hello when they pass by, which they don’t in the street, and you get to know people around you. Sometimes they share their produce with you, a chap down here he’s quite generous giving you small plants and things.”

And Ninka
“There are various people of [older] age, the ‘old boys’; lots of couples; lots of people who appear to be single parents, although I may be wrong. There is a special needs’ allotment at the entrance [and] there is a physically-disabled persons’ allotment.”

Comments about this page

  • My dad – Roy Stevens – had an allotment (No.406) on the Weald Avenue site from the early 60s until he died in 1986. It backed onto the Neville Road house gardens in the north of the site. He loved to go “up to the plot” for the peace and tranquillity, where he could smoke his pipe and think to himself and have a quiet chat to his neighbours, oh! and he grew a few spuds and sprouts as well. Opposite, was an old Tilling horse drawn bus/tram being used as a shed!! I wonder what happened to that? I remember we were not allowed to use a hose pipe, so all watering was done by carting cans of water from the water tank along the path, this tank fascinated me because it contained ‘Waterboatmen’, insects that swam on their backs and propelled themselves using two long legs that paddled like oars. Ah, the simple things in life.

    By Geoff Stevens (30/01/2011)

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