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

Sunday 9th Oct 2011: APPLE DAY Bowling Park Community Orchard in allotments Bowling Park Drive, BD5

Many people braved the rain to enjoy Apple DayMany people braved the rain to enjoy Apple DayApple Day 2011 was another successful event. Despite the inclement weather - rain most of the afternoon with gusts of strong wind that were a challenge for the gazebos - the event was busy with initial estimates of around 400 visitors.

Horticultural questions ranged from 'how do I plant my apple tree?', 'Can you help me choose which to buy - an Egremont Russet or a Blenheim Orange?' (BO chosen as it will give a longer harvesting season when taking into account the other trees on the plot), to 'I've moved into a house and cut down an old apple tree, is this alright?' (I'm not sure what answer was given!). Martin was also able to help us with a few issues we have in the orchard, from a badly diseased Fiesta (and Lane's Prince Albert) to overcrowded trees that need restrictive pruning. The guidance Martin has provided will be added to the management plan for the orchard for the forthcoming year.

A banner for the orchard was made as part of the art activities, along with badges and purses using old bottle tops, apple wood and juice cartons. The more foolhardy had a go at apple bobbing, as if they weren't wet enough already. The longest peel produced an extraordinary result - 3.8m (I think). Whilst the apple used was admittedly large it was the technique that impressed - a knife was used to score the apple before peeling. The 'peeler' was from Oregon, USA. We are obviously being taught the wrong things in school.

Plenty of cakes, salads and hot savoury meals were consumed and diners were entertained by local band The 309's. Fresh juice was pressed from apples donated by Bradford Fruitshare, and about 20 varieties of apple were on sale. Unfortunately Yorkshire Orchards suffered frost this year so had no apples, however we purchased fruit from Park Fruit Farm in Essex who have consistently high quality fruit which is produced in an wildlife friendly orchard.

Many thanks to the volunteers who helped on the day - without whom we could not run the event - and who worked hard in advance to make chutney, jam and food for the cafe.

 See more photos here

Friday 27th July 2012, Bowling Park Community Orchard

Thirteen volunteers tackled a variety of tasks today, some general management and some remedial work.

We continued to construct the new compost bins, but we still have some way to go; we will continue as and when we have timber. We completed the summer pruning, done to restrict size and control the shape of the espaliers and cordons and also made a start at restricting the size of some trees which are growing into each other. 

As well as some grass cutting and general weeding, we had to fell the elder near the benches as the main bow had broken a couple of weeks ago, collapsing onto the veg beds. This clearance work will give the hedge underneath a chance to thrive. We also fitted a new door on the shed; for a moment or two we were doubtful we could do then it suddenly slipped into to the frame and was secured. 

 

Friday 1st February 2013: Bowling Park Community Orchard

We had a productive day the orchard, encouraged by the occasional warmth of the sun and a feeling of spring (in truth these moments were short lived, the wind was fairly bitter and we needed to keep busy to be warm).

We completed almost all of the winter pruning of the apples and pears, with the exception of checking the trained fruit for any disease or damage that will need removing. A few of the trees have areas of canker, and we took the decision to remove a branches from Kidd’s Orange Red and Peasgood Nonsuch, as much to see how they respond as they both have disease in the lower trunk that we cannot remove. A few of the trees, in particular the Allington Pippin and Winston are very crowded. They have a growth habit of lots of twiggy branches. We removed a fair few branches but on our next visit we guess it will be hard to tell that we had done anything.

Blackcurrant, redcurrant, gooseberry, rhubarb and strawberries were planted in beds. Encroaching plants were removed from the boundary near the Egremont Russet and the cornus was cut back at the top of the site.

The last of the stored apples were distributed and we talked about the orchard’s forthcoming 10th birthday, which we will formally celebrate at blossom time on 3rd May.

Today we worked with 11 volunteers.

Friday 11th October 2013 Bowling Park Community Orchard in allotments, Bowling Park Drive, BD4

Our task today was to prepare the site for Apple Day 2013. The important job of harvesting the apples was carried out. This is a skilled process to ensure only the ripe fruits were picked; they were then weighed and stored separately in their respective varieties ready for selling. Other areas of the site were given attention the grass was mown, hedges cut, path weeded and compost turned. All the cutting and weeding produced a good deal of material that we will aim to make useable compost in the future. It is a lot of work to keep on top of the management and today was a big help towards this. The visitors on Sunday will get a good impression.

We worked with 17 volunteers today.  

Click here to see other photos of the day and site.

Friday 10th Oct: Bowling Park Community Orchard

Preparing the orchard for Apple DayPreparing the orchard for Apple Day

13 volunteers worked hard to make sure the orchard was looking at its best for Apple Day on Saturday. We weeded the paths and seating areas that have become over grown and added a top dressing of chipped bark. The hedges around our plots and along the path were cut, this task is important as the excess height is shading the orchard. A temporary willow hurdle was comleted to protect the pond, this had been started by CSC young people earlier in the week. Veg beds and wildflower areas were weeded and more clearance around the trees was done with sickles and sycthes. Athough there is always more to do, we felt comfortable with how the orchard will appear to visitors new and old.

Vist the gallery to see more pictures from conseravtion tasks

Friday 17th April: Bowling Park Community Orchard,Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling

ariel view of the siteariel view of the siteSeven volunteers worked at the orchard today in a productive session that included several different tasks.

We erected three bird boxes that had been made by pupils at Dixons City Academy. These pupils had also made some insect homes using dock, willowherb and loosestrife stems from the orchard placed in recycled plastic bottles.These, and a couple of shop bought ladybird and bee homes, have been secured in sunny spots.

Last summer the grass areas were not mowed very often and as a result there has been a significant increase in ground elder. We hope a stricter regime of mowing will bring it back under control. We also made a start on general weeding of vegetable beds and around the trees.

The plums and greengage were in full blossom and the pears just starting.

The afternoon was very sunny and we saw comma, orange tip and small tortoiseshell butterflies.

Friday 11th Sept : Bowling Park Community Orchard, Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling.

Fri 11 Sept 09 Bowling Park Community Orchard: Enjoying the sunshineEnjoying the sunshine 

Today we carried out some of the regular maintenance jobs at the Orchard, this included mowing of the grass, cutting the hedge and weeding round the trees. We also started to replace the path by removing the woodchip. This will prepare the site for Apple Day on 10th October. Today's task was carried out in glorious sunshine and was enjoyed by 10 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the Bowling Park Community Orchard.

Friday 7th May 2010: BLOSSOM DAY 2010, Bowling Park Community Orchard, Bowling Park Dr, BD5

Visitors enjoying the dayVisitors enjoying the dayToday we ran one of our open days at the Orchard. A number of activities were planned and organised. We were please to welcome all sorts of people to the site including, YMCA staff, communitiy groups, school pupils, individuals and our volunteers. Art activities, minibeast hunts, habitat homes prepared and site tours were arranged for visitors. The volunteers were kept busy creating a minibeast habitat from old pallets, weeded the dogwood area and prepared one of the growing areas. Although the blossom on the apple trees was later than previous years, there was a pleasant atmosphere and the site looked very well cared for.   

Click here for other photos of Blossom Day including another special cake.

Today we worked with 15 volunteers.

Sunday 10th October: APPLE DAY 2010 Bowling Park Community Orchard in allotments Bowling Park Drive

view of the siteview of the siteToday was the 10th Apple Day to be held in Bradford. This is the annual celebration of our apple and fruit heritage. We were blessed with glorious autumn sunshine which help to attract over 700 people. The site was transformed with marquees put up where various activities took place. There was a lovely atmosphere during the day and the visitors really enjoyed the range of activities that were on offer and the way the space looked. Volunteers helped with the setting up of the site, running of the activities and packing up at the end of the event. We are very grateful for all the help that we received. 

Click here to see other photos of the day.