The beautiful Bristol allotment that has one of the longest waiting lists in the UK

There is a waiting list of 300 people for a plot at Kersteman Road Allotments in BristolThere is a waiting list of 300 people for a plot at Kersteman Road Allotments in Bristol
There is a waiting list of 300 people for a plot at Kersteman Road Allotments in Bristol | Tom Wren SWNS
With just 67 plots, it has a waiting list of nearly 300 people

A series of FOIs by Greenpeace UK recently revealed Bristol had the longest allotment waiting list in the UK, with 7,630.

And Kersteman Road Allotments, in Redland, Bristol, is the "most popular" in city, according to the council website, with just 67 plots and a waiting list of nearly 300.

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But the lucky ones say there is a real sense of community and they wouldn't change it for the world.

The west-facing allotments get sunshine all day long - and the view from the top of the hill allows for a spectacular view of the entire city.

According to the plot owners, there is a welcoming community - whether you've had your plot a few months or several decades.

Pete Thornley, 75, has had his plot, which he shares with a friend and former colleague, for 33 years. Back then there was no waiting list - and they loved their spot so much they've never wanted to give it up.

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He said: "The soil is really good here, stuff does grow well. I grow everything you can think of - potatoes, leeks, kale, onions, and garlic - and flowers too. The view is great, from the top you can see all the way to Bath.

"In fact, the best thing about being here is sitting down with a cup of coffee and looking at the view - I even bring a flask."

Pete, from Filton, Bristol spends a couple of hours at the allotment every other day to keep things in top shape - which is essential if he wants to keep his prime spot.

Because of the high demand, he said plots are monitored to ensure all plots are being maintained. Pete said anyone neglecting theirs will be served with an 'improvement notice' - and you can lose your spot if you don't comply.

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He said: "Some people take the allotments on and unfortunately they find it too time consuming, then they don’t continue."

Nicky Biggs, 67, and partner Jeremy Hinton, 66, have maintained their plot for 30 years.

Both retired now, they snapped it up when their children were small - specifically requesting 'the one with the big tree in the middle' for them to climb.

Three decades on, their now-grown children have children of their own - and they all still go to visit the allotment.

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Nicky originally took it on as a solo project, but enlisted the help of Jeremy for tasks like mowing the grass.

Still spearheading the project, Nicky grows beans, squash, chard, beetroots, blueberries, mulberries, apples, pears - and even has a grapevine.

She said: "I've been here so long, I'm dog-eared. I need a medal!"

Jeremy Hinton has had his plot at Kersteman Road Allotments in Redland for 30 yearsJeremy Hinton has had his plot at Kersteman Road Allotments in Redland for 30 years
Jeremy Hinton has had his plot at Kersteman Road Allotments in Redland for 30 years | Tom Wren SWNS

Jeremy, who now mans the lower half of their plot, has section under a netted structure to keep out other wildlife.

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He said it keeps the birds away but is no match for the badgers that sneak into the allotment at night specifically on the hunt for... sweetcorn.

Jeremy said: "The fruit cage was wonderful until I planted sweetcorn - the badgers loved that. They went straight through the netting and ate it all!"

Nicky and Jeremy grow an abundance of apples - so many they use them up by making mulled cider to share with fellow plot owners on a portable gas stove they bring to their plot.

Incredibly, when they first applied for the plot, Nicky recalled being put on a waiting list, even back then.

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She said: "I remember at the time having to ring the council office a few times back then."

Sandy Ayton, 76, and husband Roger, 78, have had their spot - right next door to Nicky and Jeremy's, for 15 years. They live in Redland, just three minutes' walk from their allotment.

They're vegetarians and grow most of their own food - which they can harvest and bring back into their kitchen at a moment's notice.

Sandy visits every day to keep on top of her produce, which includes tomatoes, spinach, celery, garlic, onions, red chard, yellow courgettes, broccoli and Jerusalem artichokes.

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She said they had an excellent year for tomatoes this year and is in the process of harvesting the final part of their bumper crop.

She too was victim to the sweetcorn-loving badgers, so that's the one vegetable she hasn't grown this year.

Sandy said: "I would always say, the night before you're going to pick the sweetcorn is when the badgers come."

They were put on a waiting list before they got their plot in 2008, but have made the most of it ever since they were allocated it.

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But despite the high expectations and high demand for plots, there's no competitivity between plot owners.

She modestly said she "couldn't pick a best plot" but wasn't shocked to learn the her allotment is one of the most sought-after in the UK.

She said: "It doesn't surprise me this place is most popular - but then, I am prejudiced."

Matthew Austin only got his two years ago.  He had been on the waiting list for three years before managing to secure his spot near the top of the hill.Matthew Austin only got his two years ago.  He had been on the waiting list for three years before managing to secure his spot near the top of the hill.
Matthew Austin only got his two years ago. He had been on the waiting list for three years before managing to secure his spot near the top of the hill. | Tom Wren SWNS

Unlike many of the other plot-owners, who have held onto their turf for decades, Matthew Austin, 42, only got his two years ago.

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He had been on the waiting list for three years before managing to secure his spot near the top of the hill.

Juggling gardening alongside working full time as an arts producer, Matthew visits once or twice a week to tend his produce.

Matthew, from Montpelier, grows parsnips, leeks, kale, runner beans, chard, strawberries and rhubarb.

But despite not having the long history that many of the other plot-owners have, he has been accepted into the group.

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He said: "There's a good sense of community here and I felt very welcomed when I joined."

He added: "Even though you need to maintain your plot, I think most people are sensitive to it if you're too busy.

"If something else in your life has taken over, it's ok - we give each other space. It's ok if it gets a bit overgrown from time to time."

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