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

The 2019 Harvest.

We harvested a grand total of 994 kilograms of top fruit (take the blackcurrants into account and we may well have made it to a ton!)
969.5 Kg apples and 24.5 Kg plums and pears. 

Coming in top of the list is Bramley who produced 122 kg, but a special mention has to go to Katy with a whooping 121.75 kg - so productive for a smaller tree. We even managed to make better use of the Katy apples this year by pressing 60 kg in late September to make juice. 

Our weighing methods wouldn't pass any weights and measures quality control, but it gives a good indication of the potential of the orchard to provide locally grown organic fruit. 

So, what do we do with it all? 
Of course some of it gets eaten fresh; some straight from the tree, some stored and filling our apple fruit bowl through to the spring. There are plenty of Bramley in the store, as well as Ribston Pippin, Jupiter and several other eating varieties. 

But we also make pasteurised juice, chutney, jam and dried apples. 
We have finished our autumn and winter markets for the time being, so just get in touch if you wish to arrange to buy any apples or products. 

What's on at the orchard?

Work days through the winter will be organised as part of BEES conservation volunteer group - keep an eye on this page or email bees@bradfordymca.org.uk to be added to the mailing list. 

In addition Friends of Bowling Park Community Orchard will continue to gather at the orchard on the third Saturday of the month, 10 am till 1 pm. These sessions are not organised by BEES. People meet at the orchard (sometimes arranging to share lifts but there is no minibus transport provided) and we liaise to bring appropriate tools and refreshments. 

If you use Facebook the easiest way to keep in touch with plans for the Saturday sessions is to joining the Friends of Bowling Park Community Orchard Facebook Group. This is a closed group used mainly just to communicate about details of sessions, with very occasional extra bits of info. Or email bees@bradfordymca.org.uk and we will be in touch about sharing email addresses etc. 

The sessions are occasionally changed or cancelled if too many of the group are unable to attend, and the gates to the allotments are locked so we do need to arrange to meet for your first visit. 

Alert - I am not sure if anyone will be at the orchard on 21st December, but there will be a pruning session on 14th December, 10.30 am instead (as long as weather does not prohibit). Send a Facebook message or text BEES (07970 621732) by 4 pm on Friday 13th if you want to come for the first time. 

 

Apple Day 2019

We held our 20th Apple Day Sunday 13th October 2019.
(Our first Apple Day was held at Shipley College in October 2000 - so 20 events so far (well actually in 2006 we held two Apple Days, one at the orchard and one at Shipley College, so really 21...), but we our celebrating 20 years in October 2020!). 

We have written a brief report here

Apple Day 2020.

We will set a provisional date at the Bradford Apple Group AGM on 11th December. 

As ever, we can only hold the event if we have sufficient volunteers to make it manageable. We will be recruiting soon, please consider getting involved so we are confident we can make the best of 20th anniversary celebration. 

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

Fri 4th May 2012: BLOSSOM DAY 2012, BPCO, Allotments, Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4.

Today was the day to enjoy the tree blossom in the Orchard.  It is a picture to see fruit blossom in full bloom. And today although it has been better we were treated to a good display. Unfortunately the cold weather made us less appreciative. Nevertheless, two groups from Bradford College, two from Bowling Park Primary, a group from a community orchard near Settle and the BEES volunteers enjoyed the day’s activities.
The college groups prepared and sowed seeds in two of the growing beds. Then they joined in an art activity, which was to make picture inspired by the day which will be made into an outdoor collage. The school groups carried out a minibeast hunt, pond dipping and planting seedlings in the vegetable bed. The group from Settle enjoyed the site. Meanwhile the BEES volunteers, started constructing new compost bins, summer pruned, weeded areas and mowed the grass. All of which improve the site. Being an open day there was plenty of homemade cake for the visitors.
Today we worked with 15 volunteers.
Click here to see other photos of the day.

 

 

 

Sunday 7th October 2012; APPLE DAY 2012 Bowling Park Community Orchard in allotments Bowling Park Drive

Our annual celebration day of our apple and fruit heritage. The early shift arrived on site to be greeted by a ground frost. But it did not deter the folks and soon we were unloading vehicles and putting up marquees and shelters and decorate the site. Stuff kept on arriving for us to unload and set up. Soon it was beginning to take shape. Our visitors started arriving before noon and kept on coming during the afternoon. They were able to enjoy the afternoon sunshine as well as the delicious food from the café, apples sales, apple identification, apple juicing, games and activities and horticultural advice. Plus a special this year the pink milk float printing press! All the visitors seemed impressed with the site and enjoyed themselves. And all too soon it was time to pack up for another year. The total number of visitors was 590 and we were joined for the first time by volunteers on Sewa Day, from the Hindu community – our special thanks to them for helping to make the day go smoothly.

There were 9 BEES volunteers today.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 2nd August 2013 Bowling Park Community Orchard, Allotments Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

Things have certainly been growing at the Orchard recently and everywhere seemed to need attention. So after a tour round the site we set about our task. Grass areas and the path edges were mown. The areas round the raised beds were cleared and the beds weeded. The paths and seating areas weeded. Blackcurrants and gooseberries were harvested. Plus the cordons and espaliers pruned. The site was looking a lot better for the hard days graft by the end of it.

But now the focus will be on collecting the harvest and it certainly looks like it could be a bumper one with lots of the trees laden with fruit.

Today we worked with 7 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 13th Dec Bowling Park Community Orchard, in the allotments, Bowling Park Drive, BD4

Today we welcomed Belvedere, the art installation that has been located on the Urban Garden site in the city centre. It is a shelter like structure made up of a steel frame that was disassembled for delivery. It came in two halves which had to be carried to the location and then reassembled. Our thanks to Raise the Roof for their help. It looks brilliant in its new home and as if it was meant to be there.

Of course there were other jobs that had to be carried which included some of the winter pruning of the fruit trees, laying of the hedge at the top of the site, removing encroaching blackthorn from the Bramley and preparing ground for a raised bed.

Today we worked with 10 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Sat 6th Dec 08 Bowling Park Community Orchard, in allotments Bowling Park Drive

Pruning at the orchardPruning at the orchardEight people benefited from our Trainer's experience of working with fruit trees. We covered the reasons to prune, the tools we would use and the techniques. Some of the pruning had been marked ready on Apple Day, too early in the year to do the task, and we talked through decisions about other trees. We identified a few problems in the orchard, for instance do we need to remove the Charles Ross which is diseased and doesn't look like it will survive? We have decided to try a bridge graft on the Peasgood Nonsuch in February to span a patch of canker. 

Friday 7th August: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Bowling Park Drive

Friday 7th August 2009 Bowling Park Community Orchard: Weeding the vegetable beds Weeding the vegetable beds

 Today we carried out the necessary task of maintenance at the site. We mowed grass using scythes and a mower, weeded path areas and vegetable beds and cut hedges. All this work is needed to keep the site looking a good example of a community orchard project whilst at the same time leaving plenty of space for wildlife to thrive. And today the Knapwed and Soapwort were looking very good and we found a lovely Shaggy Ink Cap. Again people who were new to the site were surprised at how away from the city it felt. There was an excellant turn out of 15 volunteers.

Click here for photos of the day.

Friday 9th October 2009: Bowling Park Community Orchard

New pathway under constructionNew pathway under constructionWe had another productive day at the orchard completing a further section (but not all) of the path. The path has been sligtly rerouted to give the Winston tree more room to spread. The change is a satisfying expression of how the orchard is maturing and changing with age.

We also cleared around the wildflowers, the dogwoods (which have responded marvelously to the pruning done by Dixon's Students in March), the rasperberries and some of the younger trees.

Thanks to the thirteen volunteers today we made the site ready for Saturday's Apple Day event.

Friday 30th April 2010: Bowling Park Community Orchard, allotments Bowling Park Dr, BD5

replacing the benchreplacing the benchToday we returned to the orchard for pereration towards our Blossom Day event next week. We split into smaller groups to carry out work across the site, a bench was replaced, grass cut in two areas, vegetable beds weeded, trees weeded, hedges cut and the shelter water butts secured. At the end of the day the site looked and now we hope for good weather so that we have a great display of blossom.

Today we worked with 13 volunteers.

Click here for other photos of the day. 

Friday 8th October: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Allotments at Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling

tidying the compost areatidying the compost areaToday was our chance to make the final site preperations before Apple Day 2010. A good turn out meant that we were able to concentrate on the areas that we needed to. So the growing beds were weeded and tidied, the compost bins were turned, the grass cut, hedges tidied, paths weeded and wildflower areas weeded. Looking at the site at the end of all this work it certainly looked ready for an open day. Plus the return of Raquel boosted moral for the day.

Click here for more photos of the day.

Today we worked with 19 volunteers.

Friday 6th May 2011, BLOSSOM DAY, BPCO, Allotments Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

Blossom on espalier treeBlossom on espalier treeToday we held our annual open day at the Orchard to celebrate the spectacle of the tree blossom. Unfortunately due to the weather conditions most of the blossom had finished. However we were able to enjoy the occassion and carried out several management tasks including cutting the grass and cleaning the shed. A school group planted seeds, carried out a craft activitiy and looked for minbeasts. A college group toured the orchard and planted vegetables while several other visitors enjoyed the site. With so many people on site it made a good atmosphere and they showed enthusiam for the project and celebrating local food growing.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Today we worked with 14 volunteers.