Autumn changes

It’s easy to take certain things in life for granted – at work, at home, in our local environment. We get used to things being the way they are. And then suddenly they might change very quickly, leaving us reeling. Last year my neighbours cut down a beautiful fruit tree which used to blossom in their front garden. I’m sure they had their reasons. Perhaps it cut out their light. Still, I miss that tree.

In London we can never assume our green space is going to stay green. We are constantly on the back foot as time and again developers come after land we thought belonged to the local community.

And so it is with Northfields allotments, where Tom and I share a plot. It will come within the 10% of the allotments which Pathways, the housing charity that owns the allotments, plans to build on. They are aiming to create 18 new social homes for the elderly and four private homes for sale. For Halloween the plot holders got together to hold a pumpkin trail running through the allotments, to raise awareness of what will be lost if we don’t prevent the building work. Thousands of people turned up to see the pumpkins and enjoy hot soup, mulled wine and a BBQ, plus face painting, a tombola and cake/jam/honey stalls.

Here’s a few photos of the allotments so you can see their beauty too. The Chief Executive of Pathways has suggested we could have allotments on the roofs of the new homes, but we can hardly relocate our apple and cherry tree up there.

Apiary allotments

FLIR hives

The photo above was taken using a FLIR thermal camera for the iPhone. It’s a very light little camera. I want to take more photos using it as the season goes on, to see how the cluster moves over winter. Need to read the manual some more though as I think I’m not using it to its full capabilities. Phillip has done a useful post on ‘Beekeeping with a Flir One for Android‘ on his Mud Songs blog – a great blog about beekeeping in chilly Newfoundland by the way.

Shed allotments


Scarecrow allotments

Halloween cupcakes


These allotments are home to stag beetles, birds, bees, butterflies and many other vulnerable small creatures. They’re a wildlife haven in a busy urban area. It’s so sad to think of losing them. We do need more affordable homes and social housing but should we destroy all our green space to do so?

To read more about the proposed development, see:

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper who has recently moved from London to windswept, wet Cornwall. I first started keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary in 2008, when I created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully! - future successes.
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29 Responses to Autumn changes

  1. Can the NASLG help save the allotment? Good luck!

    Am interested in thermal imagery! Thanks


  2. disperser says:

    It’s a catch-22. Housing is once again getting expensive, in part because there is a shortage of it, especially affordable housing. Unfortunately, more and more people means more and more developments. I watched it happen in the ten years I lived in Colorado. Places I used to hike and open wild areas were all of a sudden feasible to develop because the profit margin got high enough.

    One of the reasons we moved is that the projection for the area we lived in was for an influx of over forty-thousand people over the next fifteen years or so, and that’s just in the northern area of the county where we lived. There were plans for housing developments, more roads, widening existing roads, etc. etc.

    Most of that was driven by people moving into the area from other parts of the country where, if one hears correctly, people are trying to get away from overcrowding and its associated problems.

    Now, imagine 25% more people by the year 2050 or so, and you can guess that green areas are going to be under a lot of pressure.

    Don’t know what the answer is, but I’m not hopeful for the future.


  3. donna213 says:

    That is progress as they say. Sadly for all the wildlife that depends on the green space, especially in city locations. There is a need to curtail the expansion of where people live and have cities take in more and more of the population growth, in our country anyway. The real issue is population growth itself. I know there is a need for this housing, but someday the pressure on the land will be far too great.


    • Emily Scott says:

      Short of population control measures like the one-child policy in China – which has obviously caused all sorts of problems – it’s hard to know what to do. One option could be limiting how much space we all have. Some people are living in tiny homes while others live in sprawling mansions. If we’re all going to fit in the future perhaps governments will have to set limits on how many bedrooms etc we all have. Working from home more could help too if it meant less office space was needed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Allotments can be wonderful places for many fauna and flora.


  5. Love the camera Emily and would be great to see more photos.


  6. You have some fantastic pumpkin carvers on your allotments! I love the thermal imaging but it is too expensive for conventional cameras and I don’t have a suitable mobile phone. I think I am getting insidiously pushed towards the purchase of a Smartphone.
    I am so sorry to hear about your problem with the allotments. I notice the ever encroaching tarmac on my visits to the U.K. but it is often seen as an advantage as you don’t get your feet wet and you can get even faster from A to B. There seems to be a general unawareness of what this diminution of natural land will mean. Perhaps your efforts will help with the “wake up!” call. Amelia


  7. simoneharch says:

    Emily, the allotments look so beautiful. So sad that they may be lost. Pumpkins and cakes looked superb! Simone


  8. Eddy Winko says:

    Sorry to hear about the development. I often wonder if there aren’t more brownfield sites available yet overlooked as the cost to ‘decontaminate’ puts the developers off when there is green belt to be had!
    Some fantastic pumpkins.


  9. Wendy says:

    I’m very sorry to hear about the proposed development. It seems to be ignored that we all need a healthy natural environment around us and all too often wildlife seems to be considered a luxury. We need new housing of course, but not at the expense of every last green space and other living creatures.
    The pumpkins and Halloween goodies look wonderful.


  10. It’s very sad Emily. As Joni Mitchell put it “You dont know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. There is a similar case down here where a charity that runs an old people’s home wants to build more safe houses plus some market value houses that will threaten a beautiful secluded valley filled with wildlife. Down here it seems criminal as there are so many second homes, rarely occupied.
    I dont believe our current government of goons has any feeling for the sorts of things we are talking about so it’s not going to get any better.


  11. Love the pumpkins and the thermal image.
    I do hope you save your brilliant allotments…
    All the best 🙂


  12. Erik says:

    It’s a tough problem. We’ve been in our current house for 20 years and have watched the housing move our way. I am sorry to see the fields and farms disappear.

    What I find particularly sad is that it only takes one decision to change the land forever. Over 20, 50, or 100 years it is hard to preserve the land through every decision that is made.

    Good luck! Will be thinking of you.


  13. Lindylou says:

    Emily, I tried to mail you to inform you that I have just passed your extra floral nectaries page to William de Bruijn the nurseryman who cultivated the Diervilla rivularis Honeybee plant. My mail came back as undeliverable…. So I have to tell you this way. Sorry for being off topic again.


    • Emily Scott says:

      Hi Lindy, thanks, that’s very kind of you. My email is millieh@ (without the gap before gmail). It should usually work hopefully. Don’t worry about being off topic!


  14. Pingback: Autumn changes | How To Raise Bees

  15. Pingback: Autumn changes | Raising Honey Bees

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