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 13th October 2013 APPLE DAY 2013 Bowling Park Community Orchard in allotments, Bowling Park Drive, BD4

  APPLE DAY 2013 was a great success. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen and to everyone who braved the weather to make it all worthwhile. Report and more photos to follow soon......but we worked with 19 volunteers today, who contributed really well to ensure that the day ran smoothly and visitors welcome.

Sat 11th Oct: APPLE DAY 2008 Bowling Park Community Orchard

This is our annual celebration of our apple and fruit heritage and offers the opportunity for young and old to enjoy the vast array of apple and fruit games, food, growing, juicing etc. A first count of numbers indicated we had about 628 visitors to the orchard, the highest number since our first Apple Day in 2000. The event was a great success and a lot of this is down to the volunteer involvement on the day - starting with erecting the marquees (not an easy task as the trees get in the way (!) and the large marquees have to be 'walked' into postion over the trees, impossible without a large group of people), then helping by staffing the welcome gate, apple juicing, working in the cafe, supervising art activities and games, and the clearing away. We had a group of 13 volunteers from the Global Exchange programme as well as regular BEES volunteers. We would like to thank everyone for their hard work, especially the volunteers who were 'on duty' from 8am until 6pm.

Friday 8th May Bowling Park Community Orchard, Blossom Day Celebration

Blossom on the Ashmead's Kernal espalier, May 09Blossom on the Ashmead's Kernal espalier, May 09

We enjoyed a first for Blossom Day - there was blossom on at least some of the trees!! Last year on 2nd May and it hadn't started, the year before about the 10th May it was all over. The strong winds and heavy rain of the last week do not seem the ideal conditions for optimum pollination so fingers crossed for a good harvest.

Despite the showers and wind we managed to light the barbeque for volunteers, groups and visitors; do some watercolour painting; make insect homes and bee mobiles; plant flowers and vegetables.

Habitat Heroes staff spent the whole day with a group of pupils from Bowling Park Primary (Usher Street site) doing various activities and gathering ideas for their school grounds.

BEES volunteers continued with the work to create a pathway through the 'woodland' next to the orchard as well as clearing the main path and helping to weed the veg beds for Community Space Challenge.

Friday 2nd October 2009: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Allotments at Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling

Friday 2nd October 2009: Spreading the new woodchip on the pathSpreading the new woodchip on the path

 Today we carried out a variety of tasks and after a general site introduction and tool talk we split into groups and made some more progress to replace the footpath, tidied and planted Ragged Robin in the bog garden area, mowed the lawn areas and weeded the herb and wilflower areas. There were 12 volunteers on site today.

Friday 19th March 2010: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Allotments at Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling.

Turning the compost binsTurning the compost bins Today we had our first visit of the year to the Orchard. After an initial introduction to the site for people who had not visited before we started a number of managment tasks. New Raspberry canes were planted, which included a thorough weeding of the beds. The remaining section of the central footpath was completed. A bench was replaced. Growing beds were prepared with the long term plan of growing crops to be used for Apple Day. And the compost bins were turned which yielded a useful supply of compost and was incorporated in the growing beds.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Today we worked with 17 volunteers 

Friday 2nd July 2010: Bowling Park Community Orchard and BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Friend's of notice boardsFriend's of notice boardsWe had aimed to visit both the Orchard and UNR today but there was really too much to do at the orchard to abandon it half way through. the day.

The grass is long and flowering throughout. Whilst this is intentional to allow habitat for invertebtates we chose to mow pathways through the grass to show intent and encourage peole to look around. The pathways and seating areas needed a little attention, but not as much as the veg beds. These were weeded and sweetcorn, pumpkins and tomatoes were planted.

The smart new display boards were mounted on the fence and now display information about our management approach and publicity for Apple Day. Sadly the new raspberries have not done very well, for no clear reason.

Staff carried out basic management of the UNR a couple of days later. I am pleased to report that there was very little evidence of Giant Hogweed with only a few small plants found in the woodland area. Fingers crossed.

User Forum After the task we gathered at the YMCA. Our first discussion was to gather ideas for a funding application for a future Community Wildlife project. Some interesting suggestions were made around more practical work and linking it to natural history education at sites, including work with families.

Then we discussed ideas for BEES 25th Anniversary celebration in September. We looked trhough old task programmes dating back to 1990 to identify which sites we would like to revisit. This wasn't a straightforward task as not all of the places were known to those present so it was hard to make an informed decision. However we came up with a 'long list' which will be used to plan a tour on 17th September, and maybe other dates through the year. We also decided to have a party in the evening, back at the YMCA. Expect your invite soon.

Friday 14th January: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Allotments Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

Friday 14th January 2011: Completed section of hedgeFriday 14th January 2011
Completed section of hedge
Today was the first visit of the year to the Orchard site. We had two tasks today.

One group carried out the pruning of the fruit trees and gave the trees some extra food. This is an important job to be carried out in the winter and will benefit the fruit production later in the season.

The other group laid the hedge at the top end of the site. There was a mixture of species of trees including Alder, Elder, Hazel and Hawthorn these provide a food source for the birds that visit the site and the laying will provide extra light to this area of the site.

Both of these activities involve a great deal of skill and practise. At the end of the day we had achieved what we set out to do and were pleased with the results.

Today we worked with 17 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 7th Oct 2011: Bowling Park Community Orchard

Picking the apples with our new long handled picker and harvesting bag Picking the apples with our new long handled picker and harvesting bag Today BEES volunteers were joined by a group from Santander Bank to undertake a variety of tasks ensuring autumn management tasks were completed and the site was prepared for visitors to Apple Day on Sunday.

We follow organic guidelines for top fruit cultivation so throughout the summer we leave the majority of the grass long to ensure there is adequate habitat for the invertebrate predators that control the aphids and other pests. At this time of the year the grass undergoes an autumn cut and the arisings are raked and added to the compost. We aim to leave about 10% of the undergrowth as a winter refuge for the invertebrates.

The trees were given a bit of food to boost the fruit bud development. Calcified seaweed, fine charcoal (which aids uptake of nutrients from the soil) and a mulch from the bottom of the compost bins was spread around the trees. More work was done to organise the compost bins. Pathways, flower beds and veg beds were weeded and the hedges were cut.

We harvested and weighed more of the apples, only a few are left on the trees now and these will be picked next week.

See more photos here

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.