Allotment Folk: Yorkshire Style

Some characters seen on an allotment in Helmsley

The journey from our holiday cottage to the market town of Helmsley proved a favourite one over the past couple of weeks. It took us up Clay Bank (as shown on Sunday's Postcard), then over Bilsdale and Ryedale moors through the most exquisite of upland scenery and a scattering of stone-built villages and farmsteads.

Our main objective for the first of these trips was to visit Helmsley Walled Garden - a blog treat reserved for another day - which I've wanted to visit for quite some time. A stroll around town afterwards proved equally rewarding, especially when I found the Yorkshire version of the Allotment Folk I wrote about recently.

I particularly enjoyed seeing the chap on the left. Evidence of May's Tour de Yorkshire greeted us in most places we visited or travelled through, with all kinds of brightly painted yellow and blue bicycles, oodles of bunting and proud Yorkshire flags providing evidence of the route taken by the race's cyclists.

They may have been long gone, but each village and town's remnant finery served to make us feel cheered and welcome. We found the above scene whilst walking from the castle into town. It was on a long narrow plot, which I suspect is remnant of the burgage plots created when the town was granted its Borough Charter in the late 12th century.

Strictly speaking I'm stretching the term allotment here. Burgage plots are a much earlier beast which consisted of a house with a narrow street frontage plus a long plot of land stretching behind it. These were rented from the local king or lord, and most were cultivated to provide meat and vegetables for the household. Some of the plot's produce may have been included in the tenants' payments, depending on the local rental agreement in force.

Aerial view of Helmsley

If you zoom in on the aerial photo of Helmsley in Google Maps, you can see how these plots have influenced much of the town's central layout by the castle. X marks the spot where I found my Allotment Folk, Yorkshire style.


  1. A great post, really interesting to hear about burgage plots. Our allotment site is a very old one, originally rented to just one family, then to two or three. Now it's around 120 plots!

    1. How fascinating - we have the oldest allotments in the country near here CJ. I hope to visit them on their next NGS open day :)

  2. I love Hemsley walled garden a little bit of everything

    1. I loved it too Ann - welcome to Veg Plotting :)

  3. I've enjoyed visiting Helmsley Walled Gardnb previously. Recently we went to the nearby Bird of Prey Centre ar Duncombe Park and said we were due another visit especially as it is dog friendly so my sister and her dog can come with us.

    1. We didn't have time to visit Duncombe Park, even though they had a special event on whilst we were there. One for next time - I'm assuming you know the walled garden was the kitchen garden for Duncombe Park. It's probably one of the furthest ones away from the 'big house' that I've visited so far.

  4. What splendid allotment folk. I wonder if they stay put or wander round a bit. As soon as I saw the word Hemsley the walled garden came to mind. Somewhere I've always wanted to visit so I look forward to your post.

    1. I LOVE the idea they might wander about Anna! I must go and check what the ones up my allotment site have been up to ;)


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