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Dig Deep

ASCEND’s Dig Deep allotment is an area of land in South Oxhey accessed through a gate in the corner of Newport Mead WD19 6EW (off Kilmarnock Road) which ASCEND has leased from Three Rivers District Council.  ASCEND is using the land to create training and personal development opportunities for adults of all ages.  Activities are designed to embed skills for life, to make new friends, improve physical and mental health and strengthen confidence and self esteem.  Learning undertaken has already included land clearance, greenhouse and raised beds construction and organic horticulture skills.  We are keen to use green technologies such as rain water collection, solar power etc. and include a variety of planting techniques to attract appropriate wildlife/ insects etc. to support the environment.

When we first took over the land, it was heavily overgrown and needed much investment in manpower and equipment to make it usable.  With support from Farming for All, work began in March 2010 to clear the site including the erection of fencing to make the project secure, construction of secure storage etc and we are extremely grateful to staff from Thrive Homes, United House, Northwick Day Centre, Ipsos MORI, M&S, GE Capital, BRE and John Lewis for their help in this task.

The Dig Deep project is being approached in stages:-

  • Stage One – Complete
    A consultation has now taken place with the community, especially the owners and tenants of neighbouring properties.
  • Stage Two – Complete
    Clearance and development of the first section nearest to Newport Meads including perimeter fencing, fencing off around the Pylon area and erection of a shed. Where possible, cleared materials have been composted and/or chipped to reuse.  Any other waste materials are bagged and disposed of appropriately.
  • Stage Three – Complete
    Erection of greenhouse, pizza oven and outdoor classroom. Expansion of clearance area to include fruit trees and nature reserve.  Development of Volunteer team.   Continuing courses on site including – BushCraft, Natural and Seasonal Crafts, Basic Gardening, Credit Crunch Cultivation etc.
  • Stage Four – Complete
    Construction of a bog garden, herb wheel and clearance of second area for wheat field and other crops.
  • Stage Five – Complete
    Construction of a log cabin to support further classes and also as a bad weather shelter for the Dig Deep volunteers.
  • Stage Six – In Progress
    The formation of a committee to provide opportunities to help oversee the day to day maintenance of planting, volunteering and eventually the opportunity for community self-governance.  Creation of sensory garden, raised beds and wheelchair friendly pathways.  Addition of new planting, garden areas and installation of community bench for Open Days.
  • Stage Seven – In Operation
    The setting up of a neighbourhood gardening scheme to support South Oxhey residents who can no longer look after their garden.   This is being supported by Watford Rural Parish Council, Thrive Homes and Countryside.
  • Stage Eight – In Operation  The creation of a Dig Deep Facebook page which gives the latest photos and information on the allotment.  Click the link here.