Preparing an Allotment – Tools for Tall People

With more people getting allotments the need for soil cultivation tools is growing, as is the height of the population. Taller people can greatly benefit from tools made specifically for them as it will make activity easier with less bending.

Are we getting taller as a species?

We have all been in historic homes and cottages and had to stoop to enter through doorways. This shows us the inmates were not as tall as we are today. Modern humans are clearly taller than those from the 18th and 19th centuries. In fact, over the last 150 years the average height of people in industrialized nations has increased approximately 10 centimeters or 4 inches.

Nutrition is a key factor and examination of skeletons shown no significant differences in height from the Stone Age through the early 1800s. It has been documented that the heights of vagrant London boys declined from 1780 to 1800 and then rose three inches in just 30 years, an increase that paralleled improved conditions for the poor.

Also, during World Wars I and II, when hunger was common place the heights of the children actually declined but recovered soon after.

Digging Today

For taller people bending while digging over extended periods can be at best uncomfortable and at worst very painful. Tools that have longer handles and allow the taller person to remain more upright are the ideal solution, but not readily available in many high street stores.

Bulldog Tools, made in Wigan, have addressed this problem and produce several ranges of tools to suit the taller person.

Longer Shafted Standard Tools

For soil preparation a basic tool set on allotments will compose the spade, in the digging or border form, and the fork, also in the digging or border form. The standard shaft length for bulldog and many manufacturers is 28 inches.

Bulldog Tools manufacture all four with 32 inch shaft lengths in the forged Premier range.

Long Handled Tools

Another solution for tall people is the changing of the standard 'D' or 'Y' shaped handle to a straight long handle. These typically are 42 inches to 54 inches long allowing the tallest person to stand upright and work comfortably.

These long handled tools from Bulldog are available in the following forms: –


Long handled drilling spade- the head size is the same as a standard spade with a 48 inch handle

Long handled shrubbery spade- the head is a little smaller than a border spade with a 42 inch handle

Irish digging spade – the shaped head size is larger than a standard spade with 48 or 54 inch handles

West Country digging spade – the shaped head size is larger than a standard spade with a 54 inch handle


Long handled shrubbery fork- the head is smaller than a border fork with a 42 inch handle

Rakes and Hoes

The standard hoe or rake handle is 54 inches in length and can easily be replaced with a longer one if required. Straight handles up to 72 inches can be purchased and provide some extra handle length for the taller person when hoeing or raking allotment parcel beds.

In Summary

Taller people need not suffer while on the allotment, a range of tools that are perfectly adapted to an upright place are available and will make the more energetic aspects of cultivation more of a pleasure than a chore.