DROUGHT conditions and hosepipe bans have not stopped allotment holders in Hadleigh and Kersey from growing their own vegetables this year.
Gardeners from the two areas are benefiting from the latest trend to drill boreholes up to 45 metres down in the earth – to get crystal-clear water from the riverbed below.
They have been able to draw up fresh water using an old-fashioned hand pump, ensuring their plants and vegetables have enough water to keep going despite the hosepipe ban.
At Kersey, the borehole went down 12 metres and took five hours to complete, going through flint and chalky soil before finally hitting water.
Pat Smith, a Kersey allotment holder who lives in Castlings Heath, Groton, said: “It was a nightmare before we had the borehole.
“We live five miles away from the allotment and we used to have to cart great canisters of water up there – and it was never enough.
“Now we have water whenever we need it, and it’s 100 per cent crystal clear coming up from the riverbed – it looks clearer than the water we have at home, and it’s ice cold.
“We were wondering if we could carry on having an allotment before the borehole was dug because of the water shortage, so it’s an absolute godsend.”
The allotments in Kedges Lane are owned and managed by The Nightingale Trust, which was founded in 1580 by the will of local resident Robert Nightingale.
Norah Orriss, of Vale Lane, who runs the allotments, says the borehole cost £1,800 and was made possible by a grant from the village.
“It has been a great help to all of the allotment holders,” she said. “I don’t know what we would do without it.”
The borehole and pump were installed for the 21 allotment holders following a visit to inspect Hadleigh’s allotments, where Hadleigh Town Council had one installed two years ago.
Allotment holder Jane Haylock said: “Before, people used to have bring their own or get it from the river, which wasn’t very good.
“When we inquired about getting our own water supply, it was going to cost twice as much as a borehole.
“Now we don’t have any water bills and everyone finds it a massive help.”