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Queues for Lough Erne allotment giveaway

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People queuing up for their free plots at Crom Estate on the shores of Lough Erne

People queuing up for their free plots at Crom Estate on the shores of Lough Erne

People queuing up for their free plots at Crom Estate on the shores of Lough Erne

This walled garden once supplied a rolling 31,389 acre estate on the shores of Lough Erne with all its fruit and vegetables before falling into disuse in the 1980s.

But yesterday those venerable walls rang to the clash of spades and hoes as a team of National Trust volunteers got to work creating a series of allotment plots where members of the public will be able to grow their own.

Thirty-five allotments were created yesterday at Crom Estate as part of the National’s Trust plan to offer 1,000 allotments across the UK — and by evening two-thirds had already been allocated to green-fingered enthusiasts who yearn for freshly-grown potatoes and peas.

“It’s two-thirds full at the minute. It’s going great guns,” National Trust volunteer Rob Mayer said.

“We even had people in last weekend starting their planting early. People are planting potatoes, peas, that sort of thing.”

Up to 40 National Trust volunteers marked Earth Day yesterday by clearing land and creating pathways, as they prepared for new allotmenteers to snap up the plots which were allocated on a first come, first served basis.

“The National Trust has some model plots on the site,” said Rob. “And I believe Rachel who is working on them is introducing a lot of heritage varieties and a mixture of ornamental and edible garden produce as well — to show that you can have aesthetically pleasing lots as well as edible food.

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“We’ve a fair mixture of allotmenteers — including some of the residents living on the estate but the majority are from Newtownbutler and Lisnaskea. We’re also hoping to bring in some community groups and schools.

“Depending on the uptake there is scope to expand the scheme in the future so that it covers half of the walled garden.”


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