How Allotments Are Measured

The archaic system of measuring allotments

Allotments are usually quoted as being measured in ‘rods’. In fact these are square rods, as a rod is an old-fashioned measurement of length – the length of an ox-goad (like a sort of prodding stick to make your plough team go faster). As you can imagine, it was a handy piece of kit for measuring land if you were a medieval farmer.

Each square perch/rod equals 5.029m x 5.029,i n feet each square perch/rod equals 16.5 ft x 16.5 ft.

Ashford plot sizes are typically around 125 sq m (around 5 perch) “

The length is equal to the standardized length of the ox goad used by medieval English ploughmen; fields were measured in acres which were one chain (four rods) by one furlong (in the United Kingdom, ten chains). The rod is still in use as a unit of measure in certain specialised fields.” And, just to add to the confusion, a ‘pole’ is the same as a rod and a perch.

For our sins, allotments are usually measured in square rods and the standard unit of an old-fashioned allotment was 20 rods. This got shortened in the mid 20th century to half that, 10 rods. That has now been halved again by Ashford Borough council so the standard allotment offered is 5 rods – which is 272.25 square feet, or 30 and a quarter square yards. Which is, as near as makes no difference, 25.3 square metres.