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:
Bees are essential for the pollination of the fruit, so we manage the orchard to attract them.

Blossom Day 2017

Friday 12th May 11am-3pm

You are invited to come along to the orchard between 11am and 3pm this Friday to enjoy the blossom and have a look around. 

There will be the normal Friday Volunteer Group activities, or you can just pop in for a cup of tea and a chat. 

The blossom started over a month earlier this year than the previous two, but fingers crossed it will still be looking good this week. Let's just hope it hasn't been too cold for the pollinating bees. 

 

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 pruninings 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 staw 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
 


Bradford Apple Day 2016. 

Was held at the Orchard on Sunday 16th October from midday until 4pm.

  • We will be pressing apples to make fresh juice. Please bring along your spare apples to add to the press.
  • There will be a chance to buy apples from the orchard and jams and chutneys made from our fruit. 
  • You can get horticultural advice and even buy a tree (from Beardsworth Nursery)
  • You can get your apples identified by Anne Lee from the Northern Fruit Group - please bring 3 apples, a twig and leaf
  • Bring your friends and family to join in with the games, activities and enjoy a variety of fruity cakes and treats.

Directions (we do not guarentee bus information is up to date)

Management Work at the Orchard in 2016 is being supported by Sovereign Health Care Charitable Trust

Sovereign Health Care Charitable Trust have given funding to Bradford Apple Group to support practical management of the orchard. 

This grant, directed towards BEES as managers of the orchard, first supported some of the summer work; restrictive pruning of the cordons and espaliers, mulching the trees to control the vegetation growth and mowing the paths through the grass. 

We will continue to benefit from this grant by the support it offers for the autumn tasks of cutting the areas of long grass (left long through the summer to provide habitat for the predators of pests in the orchard), repairing seating and of course harvesting the fruit. It will also support the winter pruning and some hedge laying. 

Scheduled volunteer days at the orchard; Friday 23rd September and Friday 14th October

Sovereign Health Care Charitable Trust

A full list of volunteer tasks can be viewed on the volunteer page

 

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

______________________________________________________________________________

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.

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 responbsibility for the orchard into the future. New members are welcome - please contact BEES if you wish to find out more.

More...
Directions and travel advice to find the orchard.

Photo Gallery

 

External Links
Common Ground
The orchard in 2005 2 1 2 appple day 2006

 

AttachmentSize
BPCO Harvesting Record.xls26.5 KB
BPCO Management plan 2014 min.pdf841.38 KB

Location

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Task List - Bowling Park Community Orchard

Bowling Park Community orchard

Friday 4th August, 2017
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Continuing construction of compost bins and shelter repairs and orchard management.  

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 28th July, 2017
in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive, BD4

We plan to start on some of the construction tasks needed in the orchard. There will also be ongoing tree care, grass cutting and weeding of veg beds etc. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Wednesday 14th June, 2017
in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

As we are not doing practical work on Friday we will join the Shaping Spaces group today to work at the orchard. 

We will mowing the grass, keeping on top of the vegetation under the trees and continuing with the work to re-position the compost bins. 

Blossom day at Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 12th May, 2017
in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

The blossom started very early this year – quite a few trees were in bloom when we were working on our Saturday session on April 15th, however we were pleased to see that there was still a lot of blossom out and the orchard was looking good. 

It’s the first time we have had blossom on Blossom Day since 2015. It’s a shame we didn’t manage to attract more visitors today, but for the regular volunteer group it was a successful day’s work. And with added sustenance of cakes and apple goodies. 

The vegetation has grown a lot in the last three weeks so the key tasks were mowing (especially the ground elder), cutting under the trees and mulching to suppress the weeds. We have plenty of straw to mulch with (they were the seats at Apple Day last year) but as we started the job we realised there was a bumble bees’ nest in the pile. Although we had already disturbed them, we re-covered the remaining bales and hope they stay put. 

During this summer we will be relocating and building new compost bins. We started the process of digging out the neglected brick compost area. It has a lot of good compost that we will feed the trees with once we have removed the weed roots. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 27th January, 2017
in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive, BD4

27 Jan 2017A reluctant start today, the coldest Friday morning we have had for a while, even feeling colder than in the snow at Lower Fields. The minibus took quite a bit of coaxing before we could set off. 

The trees were covered in frost when we arrived, not ideal for pruning, so we started the morning on more active jobs; turning the compost heaps, digging out misplaced raspberry canes from next to the Egremont Russet and continuing with laying the hedge near the seating area. 

The hedgelaying team (probably the smallest number you can class as a team) did an excellent job and completed the entire stretch.  We will need to take some remedial action on the pallet fence behind which has nails sticking though, but apart from that the work has made a massive improvement - creating habitat whilst keeping the hedge below the 5ft limit. Well done. 

We couldn’t really leave without doing any pruning – we had a new tool to try out. We have bought a lopper attachment for the pole, so we can reach into the branches and to higher branches. The rope pulley system reduces the effort needed and the ability to change the angle of the cutting head was very satisfying!

In addition we took compost to the orchard and some twigs and timber as kindling for our wassail for on Sunday. And people took some soft apples away for garden blackbirds; ideal to attract them for RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend. 

 Have a look at the orchard gallery here 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 9th December, 2016
in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive, BD4

The two main tasks today were hedgelaying of the perimeter hedge near the shelter and veg beds. We made a good start clearing the branches from the front of the hedge, making the stakes and laying some of the pleachers. Once finished the hedge will create a good wildlife habitat whilst remaining within the height restrictions for the allotment. 

The other team made a start on pruning the apple trees. We also make a start by removing dead, diseased and damaged branches, but we also made an effort to remove lower branches from the trees, the ones that once loaded with fruit sit on the floor, and also prevent easy picking from other branches. Several trees are too congested throughout, and a selection of branches were cut out to allow easier picking and more air and light circulation. 

We were pleased to welcome some of the YMCA NCS group who helped with the pruning and making stakes, and heating the Kelly kettle.  

We will continue with these tasks on 27th January 2017.

APPLE DAY at the Orchard

Sunday 16th October, 2016

Event 12-4pm.

Preparation starts 8.30am, clear up ends about 5.30pm.

Please let us know if you plan to volunteer so we can discuss times and transport.

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 14th October, 2016
in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive, BD4

We got wet today, but we preserved to make sure the Orchard was ready for Apple Day on Sunday. We continued with the autumn task of cutting the long grass and weeding under the trees. We did a little bit of harvesting, but left some to do with visitors on Sunday. The path had a bit more weeding and bark spread on it. Paulina did a great job of marking the two young trees with a decorative willow structure.

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 23rd September, 2016
in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

We arrived at the orchard today having been told our tenancy had been ended. It wasn't just the belief that this was the result of a clerical error (we had returned letters on time to accept a notice of bad cultivation and signed to say our intention was to improve), but because we know the orchard is a highly productive allotment, growing loads of organic apples, many varieties that you cannot buy in the shops. Whilst we know that we hadn't done enough work this summer, and we need to address that next year if we wish to keep the orchard going, we will continue to cultivate following guidelines from Garden Organic, the national research organisation that provides advice to professional and amateur gardeners. 

Today we were busy with the scythes and sickles to start the late summer grass cut. A new bench was installed, using reclaimed timber, and others were fixed with timberlocks. The collection of the gravel for the path was thwarted by padlock technicalities, however this was resolved on Tuesday 27th when Forest of Bradford volunteers dropped it off and helped with further tasks. 

Although the ripening of apples is relatively late (blossom was late this year) we are now in full flow. Make sure you are contacting us for all your apple shopping. 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Thursday 28th July, 2016

In contrast to yesterday, it was wet today, but we completed several key tasks. The summer pruning of the cordons and espaliers was just about completed to restrict their growth. They are looking tidier. The hedges were cut. We used cardboard and straw to mulch round more trees, having been pleased with the results from the work done in June. 

There is still plenty of long grass – we watch a Large Skipper butterfly laying eggs, so we will leave the meadow until later in the summer. The alliums we planted earlier in the year were looking good and providing nectar for the insects. 

Some pictures in the gallery