a week or so ago. The reason for that was to finally get the levels right. You can see in the photo there's a drop running right to left. The whole plot slopes down from South to North, so on that side from the gate to the pond.
I was for keeping those paths out of respect for whoever laid them, sometime between 1917 and the 1970s or 80s. But the fact is, the plot has naturally raised its level over the decades by both incidental, (during its abandoned weed filled fallow years), and intended introduction of organic matter, and the paths are too low. If I've got to lift them brick-by-brick, fill their foundations, and then re-lay them... Well, do I really need to keep them?
It's not as if they're great paths, though they do have a certain old allotment charm. They're very uneven, making it difficult to keep them clean. And if I do away with them, here's the thing, there'll be one big bed running from the gate to the pond on a gentle slope. I'll have the polytunnel to separate beds 4 and 5. But without these fixed paths, I can move it along the beds, making it possible to plant directly into the ground in the polytunnel. I could actually move it all over the plot, maybe as part of the potato bed, as tomatoes and spuds are in the same family for crop rotation. Whatever, it would give me more flexibility.
The last straw was the heavy rain at the weekend. I've been watching all the beds, and the shed foundation, for water collecting. And here we have it, in the old greenhouse foundations, (on the right of the photo) the only puddles in the entire plot. The topsoil is thin there, but I've a great heap of riddled topsoil looking for a home. Without those paths, and a spit of topsoil, water will run down the length of beds 5 and 4 straight into the pond.
This fits into the bigger scheme I'm devising: a central path with 3 beds each side, (one of which is a pond), all divided up, separated and encircled by a skinny brick path. I'm actually running out of bricks for that, and therefore need to bricks from the redisovered paths to redeploy in the skinny paths.