(Photo: Branch Hill Allotment Association)
On the corner of Oakhill Way, Branch Hill and Frognal, the allotment site was once the garden of Branch Hill House, a substantial Edwardian mansion occupied for some years by John Spedan Lewis, founder of the John Lewis Partnership. It was converted to council accommodation for the elderly in the 1970s.
The gardens had uncertain status during the 1980s, but enterprising locals and would-be gardeners nudged the planners in a green direction by growing vegetables and informally maintaining the estate. They were supported by local residents and The Heath Society, leading Camden Council to earmark the land for community use as allotments.
Today there are 32 plots, managed by Camden. Some are divided in half, so some 40 people have a contractual arrangement. Probably half as many again (friends of holders) garden there and visiting schoolchildren are pleased to assist.
The glorious combe, in an area previously frequented by poets such as John Keats and Gerard Manley Hopkins and artists John Constable and George Romney, is home to a variety of wildlife.
The Branch Hill Allotments Association contributes to the maintenance of the estate and represents gardeners' interests in general. The aim is to allow wildness while developing cultivation.
We hope you enjoy your visit!