I was intrigued when Ranger Stuart said we’d be working at the Frimley Fuel Allotments. I’d heard of allotments for growing food and vaguely knew that historically allotments were set aside to help the poor of the parish. I knew about estovers, the commoners right to take firewood, but hadn’t heard of a fuel allotment. So I looked it up! The Frimley Fuel Allotments’ website explains that fuel allotments were land reserved for the cutting of turf or wood for domestic fires and were once a common feature of rural villages. The Frimley allotments were set aside in 1785 when an act of parliament enabled the Lord of the Manor of Frimley to designate the land, providing a source of fuel for the poor.
The allotments have long ceased to be harvested, but the Frimley Fuel Allotments charity still relieves need, hardship and distress in the parish. The allotments provide open space for local people to enjoy and are managed for their conservation value. Which is where we come in!
Much of the now densely wooded site is ripe for heathland restoration and parties of willing volunteers are doing a grand job, helping to keep small invasive birch and pine at bay. The volunteers carefully dug a trench around the fire site down to the sand to prevent the surrounding peat catching fire, so we could run a controlled fire fit for toasting marshmallows. A big thank you to Christa from the Fuel Allotments for helping to organise and run the task for 16 volunteers.
Casual Assistant Ranger Sarah and Ranger Stuart