John Rafferty

Plot 32 East

Wester Hailes Allotment Association
We just keep on growing!
even in

Welcome to Wester Hailes Allotment Association website

A very warm welcome to the Wester Hailes Allotment Association website. The website is intended for members of the Association and other visitors, and we hope that all will find something of interest.

We are an independent association. We operate on two sites in the south west of Edinburgh. Please see the "About Us" section below to learn more about us and to see where we are located.

About Us

Wester Hailes Allotment Association was established in 1978 as an independent allotment association on a site situated in the south-west of Edinburgh. The Association is idependent in the sense that it is not run by the local Council, although we do rent ground from the Council.

When it was established in 1978 it operated on a single site off Westburn Avenue in Wester Hailes. In the early 1980s when the City By-Pass was being extended through to the Gyle, the allotment site was split in two by a new public highway between Westburn and Babertion Mains. Since then, the Association has operated on 2 sites - the East Side and the West Side (view a map of the area).

In 1981, a small area of land at the western-most end of the West Side was rented from the then local farmer and this was used to establish 12 new plots.

In the early days, plotholders were local residents of Wester Hailes and the Calders. Today, members of the Association are still mostly local residents who live within a mile or so of the 2 sites. But quite a few now come from further afield, including some from West Lothian, although these are mostly "locals" who have moved outwith the City.

In total there are now 100 or so allotments on both the East and West Sides. (This number can vary as sometimes we have half plots.)

Our Plots

Our plots are roughly 200 square yards in size and are mostly rectangular shaped. A typical plot would be around 60ft by 30ft.

Water - Don't waste it!

Water is available on site but members are asked to use it responsibly and to collect and use rain water wherever possible.


Members are required to cultivate and maintain their allotments to a standard of at least seventy-five percent of the allotment being under cultivation mainly for the production of fruit and vegetable crops.


Alas, from time-to-time it becomes necessary to terminate a tenancy. This action usually arises from the plot being neglected and/or not cultivated to the required standard.

Our Latest Newsletter

January 2020

Happy New Year to all!

It is the intention of the committee to keep everyone informed of what is going on .....

Noticeboards are now in place on both sides. These are not reserved for use by the committee – please feel free to post messages relating to the allotment yourself. Please include your name and plot number.

Both noticeboards need a coat of gloss paint. If it ever stops raining could anyone spare an hour to do this – you can even choose your own colour! Let me know who has done this and I’ll give you full credit in the next newsletter.

- - - - - - - - - - -

These are the items we discussed at the last committee meeting:

Works for the coming year:

We want to look at the condition of the perimeter fencing. Network Rail are responsible for the fencing along the railway track, and they are aware that it is in a state. It is the rest of the outside fencing we need to survey.

If you have a plot that has outside fencing (ie next to one of the roads) could you please check the state of the fence and let us know if you think it needs attention? It would be good if you could let us know either way so that we can get an overall impression.

The other job already prioritised for 2020 is to improve the state of the access road just inside the gate on the East side – this is currently more like a paddling pool than a road.

If you want other works to be considered, please get in touch.


There have been a few complaints about smoke and smell from bonfires – mainly from some of the residents on the far side of the railway track. The Environmental Health people have been involved, and if the complaints continue it could become a serious matter, resulting in a fine of £5,000.

PLEASE: If it is essential that you have a bonfire, can you keep it small and as smoke-free as possible? Don’t burn wet or green wood (leave it to dry first). This is particularly important if your plot is near the railway line or the Bypass where traffic may be blinded by smoke (this has happened in the past and the fire brigade arrived at the gate.)

In order for us to be good neighbours, please no fires at all on Saturdays or Sundays.

Plot Inspections

There are several plots that are looking very neglected at the moment. It is still winter, but there are lots of jobs that can be done.

We will be doing the first inspection in February. This is aimed at those who have already been given a notice about the state of their plot, and those approaching the end of their probationary period.

If you are in one of these categories the next couple of weeks are your last chance to make some significant improvements – otherwise there is a very good chance you will be sent a ‘notice to quit’. This is only fair so that we can re-let your plot in time for the new growing season.

New Committee – to be elected at the Annual General Meeting on 28th March

Why not consider joining the committee? It is enjoyable work, and can take up as much or as little of your time as you wish. There is a management committee meeting (usually at the WHEC) once a month and the AGM each March.

Here is a list of what is involved in each role:

Chair: Strategic overview of all areas

Vice Chair: Deputising for and supporting the Chair

Secretary: Maintenance of member and waiting lists, agendas and minutes. All correspondence.

Treasurer: Rent collection and all financial matters.

There are five ordinary members of the committee. These are currently responsible for plot allocations, website development, working parties, inventories of tools and plot inspections.

Get in touch with me folks if you would like to discuss any of these posts – I will help you.

Cultivating Communities, City of Edinburgh Council

"Allotment gardening provides the opportunity for a year-round healthy lifestyle which is active, socially inclusive and which reflects the ideals of sustainability and well-being. Unlike other leisure activities, it provides not only exercise, mental relaxation and lifelong learning opportunities, but a place to make and meet friends along with gathering the harvest of fresh fruit and vegetables."

"Allotments have a significant role to play in the protection and promotion of biodiversity and provide the opportunity to spend time out-of-doors enjoying nature."

Do you wonder if ‘biodegradeable plastic’ really does rot away?

Here is a real research project you can join in with to collect data.

"Participate in the Big Compost Experiment, our nationwide citizen science research experiment in compostable and biodegradable plastics.

(You have to bury some different "biodegradable" packaging in your compost heap, and report back to them.)

- - - - - - - - - - -

Will it ever stop raining folks?

I wish you all well on your plots for the new growing season! Happy gardening.

Best wishes to all,


57 East – often there Saturday/Sunday morning. Pop along for a chat.

Potato Blight? You don't want it!

Click here for Potato Council's factsheet

Our Committee

Details of the Association Committee are set out in the table below.

Position Name Plot Number
Chair Chris Griffin 57 East
Vice-Chair Rab Beggs 41 East
Secretary John Rafferty 32 East
Treasurer John Wynn 24 West
Member Tim Connelly 53 East
Member Mhairi Duncan 36 West
Member John Hanna 34 West
Member Mike Hicks 13 West
Member Michael Muirhead 15 West
Member Witold Wantuch 13 East
Association's Constitution

Committee members can be contacted on their plots or by post through the Secretary

If you wish to write to the Association Committee please address your letter as follows:-

The Secretary
Wester Hailes Allotment Association
30 Westburn Grove
EH14 2SA

Or you can send an email to the Secretary at .

Alternatively, you can send a message using the contact form

Click for contact form

Some Hints and Tips

Here are some hints and tips you might find helpful

Some Tips

Some Pests

Winter! It's time to:-

keep warm!!

Our Friends

We are grateful for the continuing support we receive from the following organisations and individuals

Wester Hailes Education Centre for providing facilities for our monthly committee meetings.

Wester Hailes Arts for Leisure and Education (WHALE) for providing "post box" facilities.

Catherine Beggs for financial services.

And here is another of our friends, on the East Side