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:
Bees are essential for the pollination of the fruit, so we manage the orchard to attract them.

Blossom Open Days 2018

Friday 11th May 11am-3pm and Saturday 19th May 10am-1pm. 

You are invited to come along to the orchard to enjoy the blossom, have a look around and learn more about the orchard.  

There will be the normal Friday Volunteer Group activities 11th, or you can just pop in for a cup of tea and a chat, or to have a go at some drawing or minibeast searches.

We are still a bit unsure what the blossom will do this year; a cold winter especially March, but a few warm days in mid April. The first signs of plum blossom were showing on April 21st. With two dates to choose from we can't go wrong...?! 

 

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 pruninings 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
 

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

______________________________________________________________________________

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.

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 responbsibility for the orchard into the future. New members are welcome - please contact BEES if you wish to find out more.

More...
Directions and travel advice to find the orchard.

Photo Gallery

 

External Links
Common Ground
The orchard in 2005 2 1 2 appple day 2006

 

AttachmentSize
BPCO Harvesting Record.xls26.5 KB
BPCO Management plan 2014 min.pdf841.38 KB

Location

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Task List - Bowling Park Community Orchard

Bowling Park Orchard

Friday 8th June, 2018
in allotments on Bowling Park Drive

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 25th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Two contrasting days, in both tasks and weather. On Thursday, whilst Dennis worked away at the foundations the rest of us had a visit to the timber yard to talk to Richard Kirby of Outdoor Classrooms about our design. It was great to look around the workshop and see the sort of buildings that Richard is making. His experience led him to suggest a different approach than the one we had planned so instead of coming away with timber, we left the yard with food for thought and some more homework to do. Back at the orchard it was scorching, and just enough time for a bit of watering and weeding. 

No need for watering on Friday. It rained most of the day and we all got thoroughly soaked and covered in mud. We installed two large benches which involved getting right down into a muddy hole. We also planted a range of plants to add nectar into the grasses. These included Brunnera, comfrey, chervil, loveage, foxgloves and mahonia. We replanted the herb bed as well, and in general did well to persist through to the end of the afternoon. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Thursday 24th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive
See Friday's report for an update

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 18th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

We are making steady progress with a range of tasks. It might not have looked like we made much progress on the ground on Thursday, but we did some essential decision making about the size and positioning of the shed. We even called on Pythagoras for some to help to ensure are walls are perpendicular.  

On Friday Dennis laid the first stones for the foundation layer, once stone was collected from around the orchard. The shed is taking shape! However, it’s been a long cold winter and the cows stayed in the barns for longer than normal, hence they needed more straw. In fact they (and I guess other animals) needed it all. There is no straw to be had in England. So a key ingredient of the shed is eluding us but we want to carry on with this method of construction having chosen it as the best solution (insulation, fire proof, rodent proof, temporary if necessary). 

Other tasks have included installation of a bench (almost), cutting under the trees and feeding with compost moved from the shed area. 

We had a visit from Postcode Local Trust on Thursday. It was great to be able to show them the Orchard and the work that we are carrying out with Operation Orchard, as a result of the funding they have awarded. 

 
 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Thursday 17th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive
Please see Friday's report for an update on progress.

Blossom Day; Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 11th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

What a change in a few short days. Never have we had a display of blossom like this for Blossom Day; most of the trees were in full flower. Belle de Boskoop was a blousy white and ladened with flowers, Winston is still emerging and slightly pink (mostly the blossom seems very pale this year). Dog’s Snout is looking attractive, and this is really the time to admire the quince which no doubt will deteriorate as the summer develops (is it suffering from quince blight?). It looks like the Bramley may be having a restful year with a smallish crop, and Blenheim Orange and Pitmaston Pineapple seem to have fallen into a biennial fruiting habit, with this being their off year. 

We could hardly tell the mower was in use last week, so we gave the paths a further mow, and carried on with barking other paths and seating areas. But today was really about enjoying the space, eating apple and rhubarb cakes and apple and parsnip soup,  doing a bit of drawing/investigation. 

 
 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 4th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

This was the start of the next phase of work at the orchard, an intense period that should see a conclusion to infrastructure improvements of Operation Orchard. 

Spring seems to be almost here; there was even a little bit of blossom open on Beauty of Bath. We did our first mow of the season, cutting paths through the grass areas. On the whole we leave most of the grass to grow long and create habitat for the essential predators which will keep the trees healthy and productive. The paths, as well as leading us in and around the trees, also create some height diversity in the sward so the habitat is suitable for a greater number of invertebrates. 
The other tasks were focussed on clearing and levelling the area for the shed, and preparing the area around the new benches ready to lay weed suppressant and a bark covering. To be continued…
 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 16th February, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Today we focussed on thinning out and reducing the height of some of the perimeter trees. It is important we do let these get too big as we do not want them shade the allotments. It also supports the allotment association’s aims to get better views across the allotments  in a bid to improve security. 

Thank you to the volunteers who helped transport volunteers and tools in the absence of the minibus. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 19th January, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Cancelled due to ice, illness and flat battery in the minibus

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 8th December, 2017
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Another cold start, and today the temperature cannot have risen much above freezing as none of the snow or ice melted, even in full sun. We made a tentative start to the pruning; it’s not ideal in such cold conditions but also we wanted to complete the installation of the veg bed to avoid carrying timber around again. We have used oak sleepers, so whilst we will appreciate the durability, they were heavy to handle and resisted the nails. We persevered and completed the job. 

We pruned almost all the soft fruit – this has been missed the past couple of years, so whilst it leaves us with a lot of pruning to do on subsequent visits, it was a prickly job, well done.