Allotments Information


These sites all belong to Exeter City Council and tenants pay rent to the council and abide by the City Rules.  Day to day management is provided by five volunteer Site Managers, who are also members of TAGS.

Allotment Fees 2023 to 2024

The council has informed us that allotment fees from September 2023 to September 2024 are £8.35 per rod.  Please mention it to your allotment neighbours just in case they don't see our various communications. 

City Rules for allotment holders

It is really important that allotment tenants follow the city rules. They not only give guidance for good practice but they also indicate how a tenant can be a responsible member of the allotment community. For example, tenants must take action to prevent or eliminate persistent and invasive weeds. These can be not only a problem for the tenant but also for the allotment neighbours. Contravening city rules can lead to eviction from a plot.

The rules are available here:

City Rules for allotment holders

Applying for an allotment

To apply for an allotment visit the Exeter City Council Website.

Please note that although the online list is closed it is still possible to apply by letter. Letters are kept in date order and applicants will be contacted once they reach the top of the list.  Applicants should not phone the council until at least a year has elapsed since their application as it normally takes about a year to get to the top of the list.

Note that only those people who live within the boundary of Exeter City Council are eligible for tenancy of a plot. If a tenant moves to an address outside of the boundary of the Exeter City Council their tenancy will be terminated.

Exeter City Council - Apply for an allotment

General Site Conditions

The underlying rock for each site is the reddish brown Dawlish Sandstone from the Permian Period. On top of it are much more recent sands and rounded gravels deposited by ancient rivers. In our mild, wet climate they form a slightly acidic, sandy loam soil, often with rounded pebbles, which is easy to work, even when wet. They dry and warm up quickly but are quite ‘hungry’ needing regular additions of organic matter to give the soil body and nutrients. Topsoil depth varies across each site from a few inches to a foot and a half at best.

Allotment Sizes

Allotment size varies. Some people still have ‘full’ allotments which are 10 rods in size, but in view of the high demand for allotments the City Council, nowadays, only let ‘half’ plots’ – roughly 5 rods in size. A few plots have been subdivided into smaller plots of one or two rods each.


Topsham Allotments and Gardens Society and Exeter City Council

The following is an article written by Duncan Smith, our Chairman, and it was published in the TAG newsletter of Spring 2009.

“About two years ago a young couple came into the Trading Hut to see what was on offer.  In conversation they said that they were 30th on the allotment waiting list and that it might be three years before they had a plot. They asked if it was possible to give someone a hand in the meantime so they could find out what is entailed.

This seemed a good idea and subsequently the committee agreed to implement the buddy scheme. Any plot holder or gardener can get in touch with the Allotment Manager to see if there is anyone on the waiting list who might like to join them.

Essentially the scheme is to give future plot holders an insight into what they might expect. In a way it is a mentoring/tutoring scheme, which it is hoped, will be mutually beneficial.

In the event only one arrangement was set up and I have the aforementioned young couple as helpers. The benefits have been huge and I hope mutual. They are eager learners and willing workers. I made the point at the outset that a regular time commitment is required. We meet for three hours on a Saturday morning. I consult with them on what we should grow and we share the disappointments-having the brassicas wiped out by club root for instance. The deal is that they crop the plot as well as work on it though it seems to me that they appear not to take their share of produce. And I think they are learning some tricks of the trade, which will be helpful when they get their plot.

There have been other benefits. They were on hand to keep things going when I was sidelined following knee replacement surgery. We have excellent conversations and debates whilst weeding which gives me insights into a younger person’s view of the world I might not otherwise have. Being invited to a birthday party was somewhat touching particularly since my own off spring are thousands of miles away.

Those wishing to take on a buddy need to be active gardeners. The scheme is not intended to provide free labour for overgrown plots and gardens or to allow another person to take over all or part of a plot. The arrangement entered into is left to the mentor. Ideally future plot holders will find out the time and effort required and be in a position to plan their gardening year for when they have their own plot.

There is an understandable worry should the arrangement not work. It seems to me that the only answer is to accept that and for people to go their separate ways.

I thoroughly recommend the buddy scheme.”

Duncan Smith

It has been agreed that we try and expand the scheme, but as well as the caveats mentioned above, it is important to make it clear that the following rules must be followed in order to comply with the City of Exeter Rules and Conditions covering Allotment gardens:

  1. Any plot holder requiring a Buddy should contact any site manager  and request a copy of the Buddy Scheme Rules, and an application form.
  2. Plotholders can request names from the waiting list by contacting the city council Alternatively if the plot holder has a particular friend and wants them to help, they should discuss it with their site manager first, giving the reasons for wanting assistance.
  3. When matters are agreed between the plot holder and the proposed Buddy, the application form should be completed by both parties and sent to the relevant site manager for formal approval.
  4. The Buddy should not start working on the plot until approved by the site manager.  
  5. The fact that an individual is working as a buddy does not alter their position on the waiting list.  The top person on the list is offered the first available allotment.
  6. If the plot holder no longer wishes to retain their allotment, or is no longer able to keep it properly cultivated, the buddy has no right to keep working that allotment, unless they take it over as being the next one on the waiting list.
  7. The scheme is ideal to assist plot holders who are temporarily ill, or away for a lengthy vacation, on the basis that they will be coming back to resume full working of their plot, are very elderly and have no family willing to help, or when taking over a new plot, there is an excessive amount of work to be done.  Normally you agree to share produce.
  8. Longer term arrangements are acceptable provided the plot holder spends at least the same time working the plot as the Buddy, and this is usually because they work together.
  9. If a plot holder finds that they cannot or do not wish to fully maintain their plot, they should consider giving it up, or if a full plot, giving up half.

TAGS site managers

FORM 1    (Revised 28 April 2021)

The link for the application form is below.

Buddy Scheme Application Form