Address; The Reservoir, Main Avenue (off Scholes Lane), Thatto Heath, St Helens.
Nearest postcode: WA10 3NZ
We are one of 18 allotment sites owned by St Helens Council. Each allotment on the site is between 200 and 300 square metres in area, this being a typical size for an allotment. The rent is based on the area of each allotment, and at Nutgrove will be in the region of £60 per year in 2016. Plot holders over 60 years of age get a 50% reduction.
The allotment site is on a rise overlooking St Helens to the east and is between the Liverpool to Wigan railway line and the United Utilities enclosed reservoir built into the sandstone of the rise. We are a single row of allotments alongside the distinctive old sandstone wall at the top of the impressive Thatto Heath railway cutting. The rock beneath the plots is red sandstone so the soil is generally easy to work and is slightly acidic. The railway cutting was made in around 1861 when the line from Liverpool to Wigan was built.The sheer sandstone walls have a good selection of Bryophytes, Pteridophytes and Liverworts growing on them. Unfortunately when the line was electrified Network Rail blocked the view of the sheer walls of the cutting.
The allotments were established at some time between 1930 and 1945. Several people have said that in the early 1950s St Austin's school, very close the site had the use of plot 22, and that the children enjoyed growing vegetables there, particularly as it got them out of school.
Nearly all the plotholders live within one mile of the site, and most of us are much closer than this so it is very much a community site.
The plotholders are from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and abilities. As might be expected for an allotment site, the age range of the plot holders is skewed towards the older end, although we have several young families are involved in working plots. One plot holder says he has been on the site since 1962. We have recently lost our oldest plot holder who died aged 92. He was still working his plot the previous summer.
When the Plotholders’ Association was formed in 2005, there were several vacant and badly overgrown plots. Several others were only partially cultivated. The general impression in 2005 was one of a degree of dereliction. There was an influx of new plot holders starting in the summer of 2006. In my case I was surprised that the time between applying for a plot and being allocated one was only about three months. This would be unheard of now.
In 2008 The Plotholders' Association began the process of raising money to build a community plot on the site. On completion we will be able to invite local groups onto the allotments and to increase community involvement on the site. In 2016 we are in the final stage of this project. Our major funders are shown on the sidebar of this website.
Meetings of the Association
The Association meets on the first Tuesday of every month (except January) at 8.00 pm in the Brown Edge on Nutgrove Road, Thatto Heath, or in the summer months, in the classroom on the community plot.
How to apply for a plot
The idea of growing your own food has become more popular in recent years and as a result, in St Helens as in most places, there is a long waiting list for plots. You can add your name to the waiting list for an allotment by ringing St Helens Council on 01744 676122 and nominating a site that you are interested in. Alternatively you can put your name down for a plot any on any site in St Helens.