Snow's gone, so I've finally got around to giving the allotment a bit of the permaculture/no dig treatment. The idea is to try to maximise natural processes and minimise the effort that goes in. A big part of this is not walking on the soil which compacts it and ruins its structure, so I dug a couple of paths to keep feet off the beds. Then I spread compost over the bed to add organic material which the worms should process down into the soil. The last thing I did was to spread some horticultural fabric on the soil to keep weeds down. I'm going to plant through the fabric on at least one of the beds.
I'm not 100% sure about this approach, I have to admit - at the minute it looks very artificial and not very wildlife friendly. And I may have dug the paths a bit deep, so they may need flags or gravel in case they get muddy. We shall see...