Meeting Alf, the man behind the wall

There is always a new tale about Piccotts End you’ve never heard before. At this week’s Harvest Festival I chanced to meet Alf Holland, the man behind the wall. The wall in question is the one that surrounds Park View Farm. Alf has been its owner since 1988 and though he has been in our midst for nigh on 35 years there is still an air of mystery about what goes inside that wall. If it were in keeping with the rest of the village it would be home to a lovely old house with a magnificent walled garden. Instead it’s a bit of an anti-climax, containing nothing but a few caravans and vehicles plus a recently arrived scaffolding business. But that’s the way Alf wants it. He told me that he has planning approval for housing development but prefers to keep the site as he’s always known it. Expanding on his tenure, Alf told me about the all the small holes he found in the wall’s interior. Apparently they were made by soldiers from Montgomery’s Eighth Army when they were billeted in huts next to the Marchmont during the Second World War. You’d never guess from the tranquil green fields just outside that they were the exercise grounds for the soldiers and the wall was used for target practice!