A piece of the country -and a growing community – in the heart of Ramsgate

Kaye Daniels at her allotment

A little piece of the countryside right in the middle of town is how Ramsgate mum-of-three Kaye Daniels describes Chilton East allotments.

The former Thanet College tutor is a volunteer site manager along with husband Paul, looking after the 134 plot site and looking out for all those who spend time there.

And if you thought allotments were all cabbages and spuds then Chilton East is an eyeopener with everything from grapevines and Godfreys’ giant garlic to bantam hens, resident cats and bats and even beehives.

Nan-of-four Kaye said: “We are a community here. My role is voluntary, I show the plots and keep an eye on the site. I try and keep the site full with plots filled as quickly as possible. We have around 50 on the waiting list and there are 134 plots. This will go up to around 140 as we are expanding but there is no other land available so vacant half plots are being made into quarter plots.

“We have a wide variety of plot-holders, old and young and all different nationalities. A lot of people live on their own and might not see many people if they didn’t come here. Some live in flats and will have nowhere to grow. One of our eldest plot holders is 84 and then you go down to the kids. Here, we all look out for one another.”

The site was spartan when Kaye and Paul took over in 2012, consisting of plots, a shed and toilets.

But, following lots of work and a fundraiser, the allotments now have a clubhouse with kitchen, furniture, drawing pots for the youngsters, a seed share tin, shared books and space out the front for the annual barbecue.

There are also flowerbeds, a metal recycling point, areas with manure, seaweed and chipped bark, a container with a workshop inside, a wildlife garden and a bug house.

The array of produce grown at the site is also huge. The mum-of-three, whose daughters also have plots, harvests everything from leeks, cabbages and carrots to peaches, rhubarb and blueberries. The idyllic spot also has bantam hens, a pond and a kitchen.

She said: “We bring the children here and they will pick their veg and then we prepare and eat it. People literally just grow what they want to eat and if they have too much, they put it on the table (by the clubhouse) for someone else to take.”

Wildlife is important too. The allotments have been awarded with a gold disc from the Kent Wildlife Trust.

Kaye said: “There are the resident cats and foxes, the bats, rats and mice. They are all part of the cycle. We have the wildlife area and the bughouse. The school(Chilton primary)  has an allotment and in the Summer they sometimes have their music lesson there which is lovely.”

As a welcome gift every new plot holder gets some ‘Godfrey’s garlic.’ These are giant garlic created by plot holder Godfrey before he passed away.

Kaye said: “He was the site guru, here every day even at Christmas. He developed the garlic and now the new plot holders are given it. The garlic is even at the kitchen garden at Stanstead House and we have a garlic competition every year at our barbecue which is judged by Godfrey’s son Aaron.”

The allotment group is also involved in the community and this year raised £300 to be split between the RNLI and Pilgrims Hospices.

Allotments in Thanet are looked after by town and parish councils, or the district council for Margate plots. To find out who to contact for your area go to thanet.gov.uk/info-pages/allotments/

Did you know….

During World War Two the government launched a Dig for Victory campaign that called for every man and woman in Britain to keep an allotment. Lawns and flower-beds were turned into vegetable gardens. Some ten million instructional leaflets were distributed, and it was estimated that more than 1,400,000 people had allotments.

16 Comments

  1. I don’t think allotment plots should keep being divided in to half plots and now even quarter plots. Councils have a legal obligation to supply allotment plots if the demand is there which it clearly is. It is deceitful for councils to say for example. Instead of saying they have 100 plots they divide them into two and say they have 200 or if quarter plots 400. That,s like saying that if I put a bed in every room of the house we would have a 8 bedroom house when in fact it’s a 3 bed house. Over the years the Council have taken more and more allotment plots away. They should be taken to court for deception.

    • Surely dividing the plots give more people the chance to get started.

      What you advocate is like one person living in a eight bedroom mansion, hardly fair to those on the weighting list. It’s only vacated plots that are being sub divided

  2. In response to Big Mouth and Gazza, yes allotment holders do pay what ever is required for the size of their plot and of course allotment holders are also taxpayers. Gardening is very therapeutic both physically and mentally so helps keep users fit. Symbolism. The point is an allotment is traditionally measured in rods or poles 10 poles is the normal.
    Most allotments are on land of Statutory sites. Protected by the Allotment. Acts. The council has been taking allotments plots away to build on and.not replaced what they have taken in real terms, all they have done is simply divided the remaining ones. If the council keep doing that there will be very small not worth the effort plots.

  3. Thanks Ann I no doubt it’s good to have a work out on your allotment and keeps you fit. I have no problem with the land being used for allotments, I was just asking if my rates subsidised the fee’s. I don’t think you answered that apart from say you pay rates, so going from that I guess fee’s must be around 500quid a year than

  4. Ha ha Big Mouth. Allotment,s are not on North Foreland golf course so we would not pay rip-off fees they are on land that should only be used for allotments NOT building land. However even if we paid fees of £1000 per year do you seriously think the council or tax office would send you a letter and tell you that as a result of “allotment holders paying a £1000 per year for their half plot YOU can have a refund on the tax you pay.” Dream on.

  5. Thanks for the reply Ann, not sure what North Foreland has to do with anything. But you make a good point I would guess both North Foreland and all the allotments cover about the small area. So if golfers pay £1000 per year than why not allotments holders pay the same. I think the council own the land that North Foreland is on and also own the land the allotments are on. I guess I could just phone the council and ask how much a plot is to rent per year as you seem not to want to tell me, perhaps it nearer 100 quid and not 1000 quid !!!

  6. Big Mouth. How long is a piece of string. It depends on the size. If you are that interested in the matter I suggest you read the Allotment Act CHAPTER 51 dated 1922. You will find all the information there.

  7. thank you Ann guessing that you wont say how much a plot is per year I guess its very cheap and subsidised by rate payers. I thought it was a simple question which would have a simply answer.
    Still if I have to read the Allotment Act Chapter 51 dated 1922 to find out what todays rent is !!!
    I have nothing against allotments and understand lots of people enjoy them, helps keep them fit etc. I agree they shouldn’t be built on and should be for people to grow their food etc. Just with funds being tight for councils at the moment was just wondering if allotment holders pay the going rate or if the council subsidised it. You seem very defensive over the rent you pay. Going by how much it is to rent football pitches etc than rent of around 250 quid seems fair.

  8. I don’t think it’s fair that half plots holders don’t pay half the water rates of the large plots holders as surely they will use twice as much water as half plots holders .

  9. Big Mouth [ silly name] I am sure you are not. Money is NOT tight as you say, the only reason it seems so is because of how much the Conservatives waste. Selling off council houses / banks / businesses for much less than their real value they waste billions on “consultants “ and “experts “ the grab-all-give-nothing-back-mob. This is the same government that sends billions to other lands. They boost about how many people are now in work paying tax whilst at the same cutting the police / army / navy / Air Force./ schools/ NHS. Taking all the business rates and not giving any back to the areas where they snatch it from. WHY would they do that you may wonder. So they can kid you at the next election of all the things that they will lie about to get your vote. That’s why.
    Now back to allotment fees. Why should I tell you what I spend on my past time / hobby. I don’t want to know what you spend on yours I could not care less. Maybe you walk a dog on streets I have helped to pay for. I pay far more tax than you as I live on a private estate that we the residents look after and maintain. NOT TDC.

  10. at 250 per year its still cheaper than a year swimming membership at the Ramsgate pool which 286 per year, so if allotments are only 250 per year that’s great value.

  11. I agree with you political view and I don’t want to know how much you spent on your hobbies, I spend more than I should on mine. I just wanted to know the plot fee that’s all not how much you spent on fertiliser etc , that’s is your own private business.
    I think we should leave it there , its be a fun little chat

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