Allotments and growing spaces

Family on the Community Allotments at Minnowburn, Co Down, Northern Ireland

Spending time in allotments and vegetable patches can make us feel better, and for some of us it’s life changing.

This year's National Allotments Week which took place on 10-16 August, focused on the wellbeing benefits of gardening, which helps many of us escape the stresses and strains of daily life. To mark the occasion we're sharing a podcast on the healing power of growing plants, as well as stories from the growing spaces in our care, tasty recipes and gardening tips, plus much more.

Listening to the sounds of nature, nurturing new life, unearthing potatoes and watching your first tomatoes ripen on the vine are just some of the simple pleasures we take from gardening.

And there’s a growing body of evidence that horticulture has a positive impact on a wide range of physical and mental health conditions, including stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and obesity. 

According to the Royal College of Physicians, the social interaction, exercise, sunlight and access to nature that gardening gives us have several health benefits. Its report, Gardening for health: a regular dose of gardening, published in June 2018, found that working in the garden improved dexterity, strength and mental wellbeing and reduced social isolation.

" My allotment is the place I go to escape and switch off. When I'm digging around in the soil my mind is clear and calm for once. It's just me, my veg and peace. "
- Charlotte, National Trust supporter
Balcony gardener, Alice Vincent on her balcony

'My tiny plot in the sky' 

Listen to our podcast to discover how writer and music journalist Alice Vincent fell in love with plants when she started transforming the small balcony of her city flat into a luscious garden paradise. She also sheds light on the healing power of plants and how she has found comfort in nature during difficult times.

How to get the most out of your allotment

Tasty recipes to boost body and mind

" Cooking food, whether a solitary special treat for yourself, or a feast for all your family, can bring such a feeling of wellbeing to so many people. Add into the mix the use of fresh, homegrown produce and that feeling is heightened."
- Rebecca Janaway, National Trust Development Chef
Allotments in our care

There are thousands of allotments and growing spaces on the land we care for. Growing plots have been created in restored kitchen gardens, on agricultural land or in the grounds of historic houses. Many of these plots provide local people with space to grow fruit and vegetables and some are used by schools and community groups.