Bowling Park Community Orchard

bee on Keswick Codling Blossom: Bees are essential for the pollination of the fruit, so we manage the orchard to attract them.bee on Keswick Codling Blossom

What's on at the orchard?

Apple Day 2019

The date for Apple Day 2019 is Sunday 13th October, 12noon to 4pm, at the orchard. 

The event is free, but without the generous donations made by visitors we would not be able to hire marquees and the toilet.

If you wish to volunteer at the event or helping to set up the marquees etc please get in touch in advance so we can plan transport and tasks.

Blossom Open Days 2018

Friday 11th May 11am-3pm and Saturday 19th May 10am-1pm. 

You are invited to come along to the orchard to enjoy the blossom, have a look around and learn more about the orchard.  

There will be the normal Friday Volunteer Group activities 11th, or you can just pop in for a cup of tea and a chat, or to have a go at some drawing or minibeast searches.

We are still a bit unsure what the blossom will do this year; a cold winter especially March, but a few warm days in mid April. The first signs of plum blossom were showing on April 21st. With two dates to choose from we can't go wrong...?! 

Friends of BPCO

The Friends of Bowling Park Community Orchard was established in 2005 to take forward responsibility for management of the orchard. It is a loose, unconstituted organisation which to date is mainly made up of BEES volunteers. The 'friends' commit to management sessions to supplement the volunteer task days that BEES organise at the orchard. We plan to have work sessions in the evening during summer months, and dates will be publicised here once they are arranged. Anyone is welcome to join the group, please contact BEES is you are interested.

Our first wassail

We enjoyed our first wassail at the orchard at the end of January 2017. We'd thought of doing it many times, but never quite got round to it. 

Sue led us in a few appropriate words around Belle de Boskoop, our most productive tree, but really it was just an excuse to have a social gathering at the orchard. We had a fire to get rid of prunings and hedge cuttings and it was a good opportunity to catch up with friends and take stock of what we need to do to have a successful year ahead.

There are some key tasks to undertake; revamping the paths, benches and shelters, ongoing grass cutting, weeding etc. We need to create more storage for apples. Can we make something (a straw bale shed, flowering roof?), or shall we buy a shed? We want to continue to increase nectar sources in the orchard so the bees are happy all year round.

How do we coordinate work days and harvesting visits?  Interestingly a re-read of our management plan (attached at the bottom of this page) highlights the lack of any mention of the harvest! This is now a key task, and crucial that we plan it properly so that we make the best use of the apples. 

So, at the same time as updating the management plan we will make sure this year's action plan reflects what we need to do and how we are going to do it. 

If you have got any ideas, or want to get involved, please get in touch

About Bowling Park Community Orchard

The orchard is developed on six disused allotment plots adjacent to Bowling Park.

In March 2003 we planted over 40 trees including

  • 35 varieties of apple,
  • 6 pears and
  • 4 plums.

The orchard is managed by BEES conservation volunteers and we have established the Friends of Bowling Park Community Orchard who we hope will take responsibility for the orchard into the future. New members are welcome - please contact BEES if you wish to find out more.

Bowling Park Community Orchard Management Plan

The management plan is attached at the bottom of the page. It gives an overview of the orchard; background, ethos, intentions and an outline of the seasonal work plan.

Please get in touch if you have any comments.

BPCOrchard Harvesting Record

The harvesting record shows the weight of each variety of apple harvested each year.

More

Community Orchard Development

BEES has been involved in developing Community Orchards at Bowling Park Allotments, Redcliffe (Keighley) and in many school grounds.

Why?
We see them as a place to grow fruit, develop wildlife habitats and create sociable urban green space.

Orchard cultivation nationally has declined by 57% since 1950. Community Orchards offer the opportunity to counteract this decline whilst learning and sharing fruit growing skills and growing varieties that are distinctive of our locality and that we cannot readily buy elsewhere. They offer space for wildlife and for the community to celebrate and enjoy the harvest and heritage surrounding fruit growing and its use.

External Links

 

Directions

Map of BPCO

 

You can find the Orchard on Google Maps with this address; Bowling Park Community Orchard, Bowling Park Drive, Bradford BD4 7ES

By Bus from Bradford Interchange

Bus information is also available at: www.wymetro.com

The orchard is within the allotment site which can only be accessed from Bowling Park Drive.

Open access is available when we are holding events. If you wish to visit at other times please contact us.

I'm not sure if this bus info is up to date , especially for Sundays. Will check soon

624 - Get off at Paley Road near the Junction of Bowling Park Drive.
675 - Get off at Parkside Road near the Junction with Avenue road

 
Geolocation

53.777934, -1.744025

Conservation Work

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Bowling Park Allotments

The weather was fairly challenging today, for what is an important day of end of summer management. 

However, as ever, we achieved a great deal with our dedicated volunteers and the invaluable contribution from workers from IGS Construction, who had a day out of the office to help us. 

We cut the meadow area in the event space using the scythes and mowed area around the stone bench. Almost all the hedges have been cut, with the arisings piled ready to be taken to the Household Waste site for composting. The ongoing task of harvesting was a key element of the day. 

There is still more end of season vegetation cutting to be completed, plus more work around the shed. We will tackle these tasks on Friday 11th October. 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

In Bowling Park Allotments, Bowling Park Drive

Getting the inside of the shed ready for action, as the harvest gets into full swing.

A visit to the orchard to carry out a wide variety of seasonal tasks including mowing paths, scything under hedgerows, weeding around trees and spreading excess straw from the new straw bale apple shed under trees about to shed their apples.  The cordon trees were pruned.  Work on the apple shed continued, with shelving being constructed ready for this year’s harvest.

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Bowling Park Allotments

As well as ongoing orchard maintenance we will be preparing the site for summer playscheme visits and harvesting the rest of the soft fruit.

We concentrated today on vegetation clearance, weeding under the fruit trees and readying the site for use by summer play-scheme groups in August.

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Bowling Park Allotments

Levelling the area around the shed and feeding and netting fruit bushes as well as general orchard maintenance.

We worked on levelling the uneven ground around the new apple store, netting fruit bushes, cutting grass paths and weeding paths around the growing beds.

Bowling Park Community Orcha

in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

As well as orchard management; grass mowing and weeding around the fruit trees. We continued with the apple store shed, using boards to make the floor; finishing the construction of the door and fitting it. We also created the living roof. Mixing soil and gravel, and raising it onto the roof as the growing substrate, we planted it up with a variety of stonecrops and will add some thyme later.

Bowling Community Orchard

In the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

Probably peak blossom today (regarding dates for group tasks anyway). 

There are a few notable trees which appear to be having a bit of a rest; Belle de Boskoop, Winston, Howgate Wonder, Lady Henniker and Allington Pippin all have little or no blossom. The Durondeau pear has been badly affected by frost with on a few blossoms escaping unharmed. 

Not much to report on the work front; a vaguely vertical (but less that satisfactory) door frame and the start of a not very satisfactory door (rather warped and not really square, but hopefully will do at least to start with).  

A few more onions planted. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Pruning in the snowThe covering of snow this morning did not deter our visit to the orchard, even if we were a bit late to set off. 

Unsurprisingly (to me), we didn’t make great progress with the floor and door of the Apple Store, but it was very helpful to do more measuring, adjusting and chin scratching on site rather than in the workshop. The issues with the door revolve around the choice of hinge and how to avoid the obstruction of the straw wall verses the design of the door (weight, using materials we have or buying new stuff, or keeping an eye out for a door in a skip!). 

However, it seemed a good day to clear some of the trees on our boundary so we coppiced the Ash by the Bramley and felled the Field Maple near the pond. Clearing these will help more light reach the tree and pond respectively. 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

In the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

Today we concentrated on pruning the apple trees.

Last winter we had to cancel a few planned sessions due to the inclement weather and some of the trees are getting too crowded. We took  lower branches off Belle de Boskoop and Winston to help access to get under the trees. As always, we start by removing dead, diseased and damaged branches, though there aren’t too many of them. There is still a lot more pruning to do so we will return to this task in the New Year. 

It was a chilly day, so the tasks of turning the compost heaps and digging out nettles were a useful way of keeping warm.