Willow Hey Project: And the fences came down

No weather problems to report this morning, other than the usual grey skies that seem to blanket Bolton for ten months of the year, but it wasn’t raining so all was well. Landrover Dave and Wynn called round at our house first thing to pick a stack of timber up that will be using to make our reinforced chicken enclosure for the site to keep out the foxes.

Since a great deal of the sites infrastructure work is done and dusted, much of today was really about tidying the site to get it ready for opening it up as a community resource after the Easter break. Perhaps the most satisfying job for us today was creating the outdoor kitchen area, Dave sorted out the logs for the seating area and we found lumps of Yorkshire stone around the site that we used to contain the fire.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Meanwhile Chris created two new growing areas close to the greenhouse at the top end of the site.

basic Site Ecology

Unlike conventional allotment sites, the soil on our site hasn’t been constantly dug over, and much of what should be on the site is still here, such as different types of Marsh grasses, sedges, a variety of mature trees, and diverse wildlife including Foxes, Frogs, dozens of insect species and nesting birds. The only significant thing that we have added to the site are the raised beds that we have located in an area where the two elderly men who formally rented the plot grew their potatoes, we have also added native edible hedging around the site and a mixed fruit orchard


Thinking and method

The last job of the day and also part of us wanting to tread lightly on the site was the removal of the fence that divides the rear end of the site from one side to the other, the fence served no real purpose other than division, ours is not to divide but to integrate.

Our thinking behind the site is geared towards doing things that fit in with what is already here in terms of flora and fauna, this also reflects in the fact that our site is off-grid. We harvest water from 4 full sized baths, a thousand litre water container with greenhouse guttering running directly into, and a few wheelie bins and old school black plastic dustbins.we have used mainly hand tools for most of the jobs on site apart from using a hand drill where we charged the batteries at home before coming onto the site.

Useful skills in an age of uncertainty

Using hand tools has also enabled a lot of skill sharing to happen, each and everyone of us on the site has learned something new whilst we have been working over the winter and into the spring, some have learned how to grow food and some have learned how to use hands tools effectively, and in turn those skills we be passed on when we begin working with folk on the two Council estates nearby.


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