Welcome to Whetstone Stray Allotments

… a thriving community of keen gardeners of all ages, abilities and cultures on a lovely west-facing site with a tranquil, rural atmosphere alongside Dollis Brook

Our philosophy is to promote the cultivation of the allotments

  • Food growing and eating – a healthy activity for all abilities
  • A friendly, welcoming community for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds
  • Sharing knowledge and skills
  • Preserving and caring for wildlife and our environment

The Association’s Terms & Conditions are intended to ensure that people operate in a way which is considerate of their neighbours, makes good use of their allotment and ensures that it remains in a good state for any future tenants.  More detailed information is in the FAQ, which explains how we are run, and what we expect from all of our membership as a self managing site.

We also send out a regular email newsletter, which includes news about events, seasonal growing tips, recipes, when bonfires are allowed, when rubbish collections are due and other useful information.  The newsletter is also put up outside the Trading Hut.

We are affiliated to the Barnet Federation of Allotment and Horticultural Societies, the Royal Horticultural Society, and the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners.

Our Registered Number is R. 13095 Middx.

Main features of the site

  • We are a self managing site and encourage active involvement by all plot holders.
  • We improve our site mainly through voluntary activity.  We aim to keep rents low and have a good amount of savings for emergencies and enough for maintenance such as tree pruning and rubbish removal which has to be paid for.
  • There are water standpipes throughout the site, which are switched on from March / April to November, depending on weather conditions.
  • We have a Trading Hut with a shop. See the Trading Hut page for more information
  • Car access is from Holden Road, secured by padlocked gate.
  • Car parking is available in several places on the site.
  • We have two disabled access, compost toilets on site, funded by the Big Lottery Award.
  • In 2016 we set up a Community Plot for use by people who need support to garden.   More details here.
  • There is copious wildlife, including butterflies, songbirds, birds of prey, deer, foxes, lizards, frogs, toads, newts and slow-worms.
  •  Field 3 is designated organic, and the use of chemical fertilisers, non-organic composts, pesticides (including slug pellets) is prohibited.

A Short History of Whetstone Stray

There is a dispute over the origin of the word ‘stray’.

1. It was used as a pound for straying horses.

2. It is land which was ‘stray’ because the rightful owner could not be traced and it would then become a possession of the Crown.

The name has been in use in Whetstone for many years. Whetstone Stray was once part of the Baxendale Estate. Joseph Baxendale had taken over Pickford Brothers, and the area of Whetstone Stray had been used as grazing ground for the 1000 or so horses used in their carrying business. The grass was very lush because even the dung of the horses was brought back from London town to be put on the fields to enrich the grass for grazing. On the death of Joseph Baxendale in 1872, there were problems over the division of the land.

The Woodside Estate ran from Woodside House on the corner of the main road and Totteridge Lane and originally stood where Barnet House, Woodside Home and Baxendale now stand. The land ran down to what is now called the Dollis brook, and on the south to Woodside Lane and Holden Road.

In 1907-08 the Government passed legislation that Local Councils must provide land on which the poor could grow their own vegetables and fruit; remember, many of these people did not have any gardens of their own (Rasper Road and similar). The Council borrowed the money from the Government Loans Department and bought the land for allotment use from the Baxendale Trustees.

The Whetstone Stray Allotment Association was formed in 1948. Field 5 which adjoined Totteridge Lane was abandoned approximately [40?] years ago, and through lack of use Field 4 was ‘lost!’ in about 1992, although we retain an option on bringing this back into use under our self management lease. Originally, plots ran down to the brook itself and many “older” plotholders remember lugging cans full of Dollis Brook water until about [24?] years ago when water was piped in.

In 2014, Whetstone Stray Allotments became self managing, like all other sites in Barnet.