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

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. 

Friday 26th Aug 2011: Bowling Park Community Orchard, allotments off Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling

A group of 11 volunteers visited the orchard today to continue with the site management tasks. First the group were introduced to the orchard and people new to the project were given a tour round. A good number of the trees were found to of produced an abundance of fruit and the first job was to collect the fallers and pick any that were ready. We soon found that the apples will require a little longer to fully ripen. Others jobs included weeding the vegetable growing beds, mowing some areas of grass, clearing around the compost bins and weeding the paths. Although we had to run for shelter due to the rain by the end of the day the site was looking in good shape as we prepare for the harvest which should produce a good crop this year.

Click here to see other pictures of the day.

THURSDAY 23rd Feb 2012: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Allotments at Bowling Park Drive.

Today we collected the growing beds from Trinity Road. These are made of railway sleepers so proved very heavy. But we were able to separate them and load in the van. We then took them to the Orchard, where they were reconstructed to make growing beds. Also we were able to complete the pruning of the fruit trees.

Today we worked with 4 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 5th October 2012; Bowling Park Community Orchard in allotments, Bowling Park Drive, BD5.

Today we prepared the site for the forthcoming Apple Day 2012. There was much work to be done. This included cutting the grass areas, digging over the the vegetable growing beds, replacing the post for the shelter's sail, cutting hedges, constructing the compost bins and harvesting. Check out the harvest record. Luckily there was 24 people on site at one point, so the tasks were divided amongst us and we got down to the work. At the end of the day the work had been largely completed and the site was ready to host another apple day event.

Today we worked with 12 BEES volunteers and 8 from Forest of Bradford.

Click here to see other 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.