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

8th May 2015

Bowling Park Drive, BD4

We judged the date right - there was a good display of apple blossom (the pear and plum had just about finished). However we didn't manage to do a great deal of publicity so we had a quiet day getting on with some essential tasks. We cut under the trees and the grass in general, especially the areas where the ground elder is taking hold. We tended the vegetable beds and planted some onion seedlings. Belverdere was sanded and treated with preservative.

There was a little artistic dabbling, which we will continue at a later date, and there were cake, flapjack and buns eaten and enjoyed. We retreated just after the rain started. There were 35mm of rain over night, which highlighted how lucky we were to have such a nice day.

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

In the allotments, Bowling Park Drive, BD4

We had a mix of tasks to get on with today, and were pleased to welcome a group of Level 3 Horticulture students from Shipley College to join us for the morning.

We completed the winter pruning, replaced the legs of the bench that had rotted, carried on with general weeding. We planted some garlic; we normally plant in early winter, so choose a variety that is suited to spring planting (Picardy White). 

As well as the gardening we also created some ‘mini-beast trap doors’. We hope that these will be attractive to some of the little creatures that live in the orchard so that when we visit with school groups they can see what is living in the orchard. 

We saw a couple of bumble bees, a nice sign of Spring!

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Bowling Park Drive, BD4

Today eleven volunteers undertook a range of winter management tasks. We made a good start to the winter pruning, but still more to do. The privet hedge was cut to allow light into the orchard and some hazel shrubs were moved to give the Fortune tree room to expand. 

The Cornus and some willow was cut ready for a winter wreath making session at Bradford College. We continued to weed the patch near Belvedere, ready for planting next year. 

There still are apples in storage, let us know if you want some.

 

APPLE DAY Event 12-4pm.

Bowling Park Drive, BD4

Volunteering roles from 9am to 5.30pm

Our annual celebration event will be slightly different than previous years but still a lot of volunteer roles. Juicing, apple sales, kitchen help as well as help with setting up the marquees and packing up at the end of the day.

We will pick up from Culture Fusion at (time to follow).
Make your own way to the orchard if you plan to come along later.

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Bowling Park Drive, BD4

Today we were focusing on ensuring the site was ready for Apple Day. We finished weeding the seating areas and path and topped up some areas with new bark chip. We had bought a full load but this turned out to be only a fraction of what was needed.

We also paid attention to areas of nettles and other unwanted plants, as well as a bit of weeding in the vegetable beds. We harvested apples and did as much preparation for Sunday as possible in advance.

10 volunteers

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Bowling Park Community Orchard, allotments Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

19th Sept 201419th Sept 2014Nine volunteers worked at the orchard today. The fence and gate were repaired and replaced. Fruit and vegetables, mainly potatoes, were harvested. The pathways were cleared and areas of vegetation cut. 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Allotments, Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

We will carry out general maintenance tasks at the Orchard. As always there will be plenty to do to keep the site looking cared for as the harvest season approaches. This included mowing the grass next to the path, and weeding around the trees and raised beds. The belvedere was looked at, with the old graffiti and vanish removed and a new coating painted on.

On the day too we had a wonderful surprise with a family of wrens, with the fledging hopping in the freshly mown grass and a strange encounter with a colony of caterpillar.

Today we were in a group of 13 

 

Click Here to view the rest of the days pictures

Click Here to view the BEES Flickr page

Blossom Day 2014

Bowling Park Community Orchard, allotments Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

We had a lovely day at the orchard today.

Everyone worked hard to tackle several essential tasks - grass cutting and general weeding, clearing around the trees and applying some food (seaweed meal, fine charcoal and compost), clearing the area near the new gazebo, and weeding and planting vegetable seeds.

This year the vegetable beds are an extension of our Ration Garden. The seeds we planted were donated by the Heritage Seed Library and the potatoes are varieities that were being grown over 100 years ago. Read more about our WW1 Ration Garden here.

The forcast had been for a chilly day but we were actually blessed with warm sunshine (and the need for suncream!). And another bonus was the amount of blossom! The orchard looked lovely.

There is still quite a lot of work to do to finish the spring tasks. We are next at the orchard on 6th June.

Click here to view the rest of the days pictures

Click here to view the BEES Flickr account

Bowling Park Community Orchard

In the allotments, Bowling Park Drive, BD4

As part of the Apples for All project, horticulturist Andrew Chapman joined us to deliver some tree pruning training. There is a lot to learn and take in, but the more we learn and put those lessons into practice the better the fruit production will be in the future. At the same time other jobs were being carried out around the site, these included cutting the privet hedges, laying the native hedge and clearing encroaching vegetation. This will improve the amount of sunlight that is able to get to the trees and their fruit. The missing tree labels were replaced, now visitors can identify the trees and the label includes useful information like when to harvest the fruit. Considering the weather of heavy rain which set in before lunch it was impressive that the group kept going to get as much of the work completed as possible. But there is still more hedges to cut before the birds really get on with nesting.

Today we worked with 8 volunteers.

 

Click here to view the photos of the day

Friday 3rd May 2013; Blossom Day 2013 BPCO, Allotments, Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

Today we were celebrating 10 years of the Orchard. The delay in spring this year meant that the blossom spectacle was not quite ready for us today but the early blossoming trees like the plums and pears were looking good. The apple trees were just beginning to open and will no doubt be in full bloom soon. Still the orchard was a busy place today, a good number of visitors turned up for a guided tour of the site and some refreshments. Joe and Clair’s apple and ginger was particularly popular and the recipe will appear soon.  We also had a couple of local school groups and we ran activities for them including nature appreciation, learning about growing fruit, planting wild flowers and vegetables. Of course the BEES volunteers were busy creating a memorial area, cutting grass, building the compost bins, weeding, planting wildflowers and serving refreshments. The BEES choir provided a sweet(ish) rendition of happy birthday for Nick’s birthday.

Today we worked with 12 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.