Prize winners

Photo:View of Foredown from Cathrine Jackson's plot

View of Foredown from Cathrine Jackson's plot

Photo by Simon Tobitt

Photo:Lizard, Foredown allotments

Lizard, Foredown allotments

Photo by Cathrine Jackson

Foredown

By Simon Tobitt

The Foredown site is small, and is located at the downland end of Thornbush Crescent, Hangleton in Hove. The City Council lists 22 plots at this site.

Cathrine Jackson describes the site
"Foredown is a small site. When we first decided to have an allotment, we had a look at one or two sites, but I fell in love with this site, because it was on the smaller side, because of the surrounding nature, and the isolation of the area. When we first came on the allotment there was only one allotment holder here and someone else and I took on a plot on the same day. [We were] surrounded by waist-high grass and it just looked beautiful and serene. It had been a full working allotment: we found a blackberry bush, a gooseberry bush, we found rhubarb."

Foredown's history
"This allotment site was the kitchen gardens of an isolation hospital - I'm not quite sure what it was called, we just knew it as the Isolation Hospital. It is a walled area; you can still see the wall on two sides of us. The wooded area actually was planted after the hospital was pulled down, and I think it was run by the Council. I think the idea was that they would grow seedlings there and then use them to plant in Brighton and Hove, as trees [for the Park's Department]."

Foredown's climate and conditions
"When it's quite windy or cold somewhere else, it is quite secluded and quite warm here. You've got the trees protecting and the walls protecting. It can get very hot here; quite a little hot spot actually. [The soil conditions are] not too bad: lumpy, very dry, but manageable. We seem to grow an awful lot of stones. Chalk when you get down to it; it's quite a mixture of soil here; we can find one bed is quite sandy. I suppose it would have depended on how the walled garden was set out."

The Foredown allotment community
"It's a mixed community. I would say that the average age here is in the mid-thirties. It's very friendly. We do exchange plants, if we've got any plants left over. You get the core - four of us that are quite pally, and we'll be chatting, saying "oh, there's something wrong with this, what do you suggest?" I would say we're a friendly site. I don't think there's any rivalry."

Foredown, free from threat?
"The site has been developed - they've fenced us in now. We used to have some more allotments down there, and we used to have a big car park down the bottom past the pond, and I believe there was a building, a shop down there. Admittedly, this was probably after, during or before the war, and more people actually came out and used the allotments. I seriously believe that if we hadn't come to this site, as I say there was only one person on it, I think the Council have been very quiet about this area, and I think they were quite disappointed that two of us suddenly came in. I think it might have been ear-marked for housing."

Cathrine Jackson was the joint winner of Brighton & Hove City Council's 'Best Organic Gardener' prize in 2005. Cathrine lives in Hangleton, having moved to this area in the mid-1960s.

Added to the site on 21-12-05 
This page was added on 22/03/2006.

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