Getting started

The  pdf Allotment Tenants Handbook (630 KB) is a handy guide written by volunteer allotment tenants.

It provides guidance on:

  • growing food on allotments
  • what you need to know about your allotment site and plot
  • the rules of the Bristol City Council Tenancy Agreement

Tyres are no longer permitted on allotment plots

If you have tyres on your plot please remove them.

You may take them (max 2 at at time) to a Household waste Recycling Centre.

There are a number of things you can think about before starting work on your allotment.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the The National Allotment Society have advice on:

  • how to get started
  • the use of chemicals
  • monthly tasks
Bee disease: European Foul Brood

An outbreak of European Foul Brood in honey bees has been confirmed on an allotment site in Bristol.

Please check your own hives and take any necessary action. How to spot European Foul Brood (EFB) on The National Bee unit website.

Water safety

Hosepipe Ban and Water Safety


For the time being, we are banning the use of all hose pipes on sites. 

You should empty all the water from your hosepipe, coil it up and store it in a suitable location off the ground, such as a shed or at home.

Hosepipes that have not been drained of water and left in the open, can warm up and encourage the growth of bacteria. Hosepipes left in contact with the soil also encourage the growth of bacteria.

Any hosepipes found on sites, that have not been stored correctly will be disposed of by the Allotment Team

To reduce your risk of exposure to bacteria:

  • Don't drink the water or wash your hands in the water from an allotment site.
  • Don't spray or aspirate the water.
  • Don't allow your children to play with the water.
  • You should always wash your hands after using water on an allotment site.

Water troughs

Water troughs should only be used to collect irrigation water. You should only use a watering can or bucket to water your allotment.

Don't wash hands, tools, footwear, crops in your water trough. 

Greenhouses and glass

Remember that many allotment sites are exposed and subject to high winds.


You must ask permission to have a greenhouse.


Glass used for cloches and cold frames must not be left lying around the site. It's a hazardous material and you could be liable if someone is injured by glass on or from your plot.

You must remove broken glass from the allotment. It mustn't be buried on the plot.

Use alternatives such as perspex glazing or polythene cloche tunnels if at all possible.

  • the maximum size is 6ft x 8ft (1.8m x 2.4m)
  • it must be a properly constructed 'off the shelf' greenhouse, and not made from old window panes
  • glazing must be properly secured to the frame
  • the structure must be secure and kept in good repair
  • you may be asked to remove it or be charged for its removal if it's unsafe or in poor repair
Bonfires, barbecues, and incinerators

Bonfires are allowed between the start of November and the end of March. Be considerate to neighbours when lighting fires.

If you see someone lighting a fire from April to October, report it to your site representative or contact the allotment team. Your details will stay confidential.



We'll remove manure if it blocks paths or vehicle access.

Take care not to damage facilities or neighbouring plots.

E.coli advice

Due to the risk associated with E.coli O157:

  • you must compost fresh manure for at least 12 months before you put it on your plot
  • dig manure into the ground before planting any crops
  • wash hands if you handle manure
  • wash all crops after picking
  • don't let children handle animal manure

For more information and guidance, see Food Standards Agency: Managing Farm Manures for Food Safety.

Contaminated manure

Manure may be contaminated by Aminopyralid, a weedkiller used by farmers. It affects potatoes, tomatoes, beans, peas, and some flowers, making them stunted and unusable.

It's important to ask the farmer or stables where you get the manure that the pasture the horses were grazed on (or their hay was cut from) has not been treated with this herbicide.

Find out more from the Royal Horticultural Society website.


Pesticides are mostly chemical substances prepared or used to destroy harmful pests. By their very nature pesticides pose a potential hazard to the user, others in the area during and after use, and can have a bad effect on the environment if used incorrectly.

Royal Horticultural Society: Pesticides for home gardeners
Pesticide information from the Health and Safety Directorate.
Organic gardening information from Garden Organic

Selling produce

You can sell extra produce from your allotment garden, including jam or chutney.

Find out about:

Securing your shed

To help keep your shed secure: 

  • don't leave expensive items such as machinery in your shed as these tend to be targeted by thieves
  • always use coach bolts to secure hinges and hasps to doors
  • always use closed shackle padlocks as these are more difficult to cut with bolt cutters
  • if you can, plant thorny shrubs such as hawthorn, pyracantha, berberis or brambles around vulnerable boundaries to prevent access to sites
Create space in allotment sites for wildlife

Use your allotment plot for wildlife

While allotment plots are mainly for growing food, there are some features you can add to your plot to create space for wildlife.

For example, you could add a:

  • log pile
  • herb garden

Contact the allotment team if you'd like to add a:

  • fruit tree
  • small wildlife pond

Use an area in your allotment site for wildlife

If there's a larger area of your allotment site that's not suitable for growing food, you could use this to create an allocated wildlife space. If you're interested in this, speak to your allotment site representatives or email

Any changes should be in line with the pdf Bristol Allotments Tenants Handbook (630 KB) .

You should also read our:

A wildlife space in an allotment site could include:

  • managed scrub
  • tussocky grassland
  • a fruit tree
  • a wildflower meadow
  • a small wildlife pond
  • a log pile
  • a gravel garden
  • a bee bank
  • shade-tolerant wildflower area
  • a herb garden

Stapleton Allotment Pollinator Garden

In 2023, we created a pollinator-friendly and drought-resistant demonstration garden at Stapleton Allotments.

This was funded by the West of England Combined Authority Bee Bold Pollinator Fund.

This is to show Bristol allotment holders how they can create spaces for wildlife in their allotment plot, an allocated wildlife space in an allotment site, or at home.

Our  pdf pollinator garden (74 KB)  includes a range of features, including:

  • bramble and mixed scrub
  • a fruit tree
  • tussocky grassland
  • wildflower meadow
  • a pond
  • a log pile
  • a gravel garden
  • a bee bank
  • a herb garden

Find more pdf details on these features and how to create them (231 KB) .