The Bryant's Field allotment site is the largest in Barnstaple with a total of 79 plots. It is situated approximately half a mile out of town on the Goodleigh Road leading towards Bratton Fleming. You'll find the main entrance at the lower end of the Bear Street cemetery and just opposite 'Our Ladies Catholic School'.
The site slopes in a North-easterly direction and parts of the site can be quite slippery in adverse weather conditions; it is therefore not especially suited to tenants with mobility problems. There are good views from the site over the adjacent cemetery, and over part of the town towards the North Devon District Hospital (NDDH).
The soil is heavy clay, with the more exposed allotments seeming to have the best and deepest topsoil, and better drainage. The lower plots have less topsoil but enjoy greater shelter, which can be a consideration for some crops and growing methods. However, don't let the challenging conditions prevent you from joining us, as some new tenants have achieved outstanding results, especially those who have created raised beds.
Average pH for the site is in the normal range, being around 6.5, Which is ideal for growing most types of vegetable. However, this varies, depending on the way manner by which the plot has been cultivated in the past. Similarly, the humus content will vary if previous plotholders have dug in lots of compost, manure, etc.
Top fruit thrive on our heavy soil, as do cane and bush. Sweetcorn pollination is never a problem, and two tenants have even produced successful asparagus beds.
As always, Dandelions thrive at this site along with Bindweed (Convolvulus), but Horse Tail/Mares Tail are a far more serious problem infecting some of the lower, poorly drained allotments.
Pests & diseases
The heavy clay soil at Bryant's Field provides ideal conditions for Slugs and Woodlice, and in the lower (wetter) soils at the bottom of the site, New Zealand Flatworm has been found. However there is plenty of beneficial wildlife (Slow Worms, Frogs and a few Hedgehogs) which will help keep these annoying pests at bay.
Access & security
Vehicular access into the site is possible, but the limitation of the tracks and pathways make it impractical to deliver/collect from individual plots. Equally, it is not possible to park on the site because of these limitations, but there are a few spaces available close by, with parking freely available approximately 200m from the top gate toward the Gorwell Estate. There is also a secondary (pedestrian only) access into the site from Bicton Street.
Security is fairly good (apart from the odd arson attack), with petty vandalism and theft of produce being thankfully rare.
Major Plus: There are still a few "old timers" willing to dispense a bit of invaluable advice to any newbies!