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

We enjoyed a wonderful Apple Day; a lovely sunny afternoon, a great opportunity to catch up with friends, buy apples and chutney and sample the fresh juice and the vast array of cakes. 

BUT - apples aren't just for Apple Day!
We still have plenty in store  - both eaters and cookers - so get in touch if you want to get hold of some. We will be at the orchard on Friday 17th December - so you could arrange a visit then, or we can make another arrangement. 

Look at this link to our jams, chutneys and juice to see what preserves we have in store. We will be doing more cooking in the New Year. Place an order at [email protected]

https://tinyurl.com/BCOPreserves

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Apple Day 2021
Sunday 10th October. 12-4pm

We hope that our 21st anniversary will be a full on celebration with all the joys of juicing, cakes, chutneys, activities, advice about your fruit trees, harvesting and a time to meet with friends and hang out in the autumn sunshine. And apples to buy.

In 2020 we were badly affected by frost, which depleted our harvest considerably. This year again we saw frost damage to some blossoms, but the harvest is much better - though moderate rather than bumper. 

With only two weeks to go we are confident that we won't be affected by any new Covid-19 restrictions. 
This is an outdoor event. We will have with some shelter, but no sides on marquees - to maintain plenty of air circulation. We will ask people to queue respectfully, and will limit clusters of people around activities, so more time to admire the trees while you are waiting for the stalls. 

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Call for Volunteers (and other help...)

Can you make a cake for Apple Day?

The cake stall is always a popular part of Apple Day, but we rely on volunteer contributions to get the range and the number of cakes needed to satisfy our eager crowd. And this year we are celebrating our 21st birthday, so cakes seem all the more important. If you would like to bake for us please email and we will send a brief outline. Basically we are looking for cakes, biscuits etc using apples, pears, plums or English soft fruit...
We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Chutney - have you got any spare jars? 

In order to make the most of the apple harvest, be it using windfalls or just preserving fruit that won't store,  we make a lot of chutney. However, we are short of jars (we prefer to recycle rather than buy new) and would welcome any donations.  Ideally we would prefer that they arrive to us without the labels - these need to be removed before we sterilise them and sometimes they are just too hard to get off.

And while we are talking about chutney, if you want to get involved with making some please talk to us. Or if you have a favourite recipe you'd like to recommend to us please get in touch. We'd welcome new inspiration. 

Do you know of spare apples for juicing?

The fresh apple juice we produce at Apple Day is another firm favourite. To make enough this year we will need to find contributions from outside the orchard. Do you have a glut of apples at home? Have you seen a tree in your neighbourhood that doesn't get picked? Get in touch with any thoughts and we will discuss collection. 

Volunteering on the Day 

We need volunteers on the day to help with setting up, helping to run activities and stalls and with packing away at the end. You can volunteer for a part of the day if you like. 

If you wish to get involved with volunteer days at the orchard through the summer, keep an eye on the task programme here, or contact the office (still limited time to the office to keep staff safe, so best to email [email protected] at the moment). 

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We do not have card facilities at the orchard. 

We know that everyone has become used to cashless transactions over the last year or so...but ....
please bring CASH for your cakes, apples, chutney, juice etc. (and of course your donations too!!)

Thank you. 

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Getting to Apple Day

If you are planning to drive to Apple Day on 10th October you should be aware of road closures on Mill Lane. The junction with Nelson Street is now open, but the gasworks are moving towards Manchester Road. You will need to approach Bowling Park Drive from either Wakefield Road (you can access Prospect Rd form the roundabout  - the road closure on the signs is after the turning up Hall Lane), or Manchester Road above Mill Lane.

Pedestrians and cyclists have access through the roadworks. 

See more information here

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_________________________________________________________________________________________2020
October 2020:
You won't be surprised to hear that we cannot run an Apple Day as we know and love this year.

This is especially disappointing as we would have been celebrating out 20th Anniversary, but we are still hoping to host small group visits. Read about our plans here

Complete the booking form and return it to us at [email protected] to secure your slot. 

Hope to see you soon!

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The Harvest 2020

Reflecting a challenging year all round, the harvest this season has been severely compromised by frost and we have a fraction of the number of apples of previous years. Hardly any eating apples - even Katy, normally so prolific, has only had a few apples, which means we have not mean able to make any juice this year. 

Keswick Codlin has done well, but coming towards the end of it's shelf life. Make sure you book onto one of the orchard visit slots if you want a  few. 

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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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

Today we completed the winter pruning of the apple trees. We also turned the compost heaps and gave the trees a feed of compost, and a handful or so of seaweed and fine charcoal (a by-product of our barbeque charcoal making that we understand helps to make minerals more accessible to the tree). The shed had a spring clean and was made secure. 

Two years ago Sue and I went to a grafting workshop and ‘created’ two new trees – Aklam Russet and Yorkshire Greening. Today we planted them. They are still fairly small, but make welcome additions to our selection of trees as they will both store well. 

Bradford Apple Group have been successful in receiving a grant form Sovereign Healthcare, who wanted the money to go towards the management of the orchard. 

 
 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

In the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

We made a start on the winter pruning today. I wish I had acted on my plan to put tape on branches that, earlier in the year, I had identified for removal. However, we returned to basic principals of removing dead, diseased and dying branches, and those crossing and rubbing. Quite a few trees need to be opened up to allow air circulation and easier harvest – we tried to be thorough. 

We planted some allium blubs, to add to those planted by Rob’s group, along with crocuses, in an attempt to create nectar supplies for the bees before and after the apples are in blossom. 

Willow and dogwood was coppiced, preventing anything getting too big and providing material for a wreath making workshop. 

APPLE DAY - Our annual public event

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Finger Puppets: Hannah's bee is taking her ladybird for a walk. Finger Puppets: Hannah's bee is taking her ladybird for a walkConsidering the weather we have had over the past few weeks today was a little disappointing. Nothing awful, just autumnal, but luckily it didn’t deter over 400 people coming for our annual celebration of all things apple (and English fruit in general). 

Again we were able to offer a full range of activities with the help of an invaluable team of volunteers, activity leaders from BCEP and stalls held by other groups.

With the help of the enthusiastic participants we made fresh juice from windfalls and other apples that had been stored in waiting (mainly Katy which continues to be such a prolific tree). 113 kg of orchard apples were sold; varieties including Ribston Pippin (always a favourite), Sunset, Arthur Turner, Katy, Grandpa Buxton, Kidd’s Orange Red, Bramley’s seedling, Belle de Boskoop, Egremont Russet and James Grieve. It was great to get help from several families during the afternoon in picking more apples to top up the supplies. 

Belle de Boskoop is a dual purpose apple. It makes a lovely baked apple, and it would normally only be considered ready for eating later in the year once more sugar has developed  but it still came out top in the tasting sessions that BCEP ran. 

Beardsworths Nursery again provided trees for sale and several people left Apple Day ready to grow their own fruit. Martin was busy all day with horticultural advice, and Anne had a stream of people requesting identification of their apples. 

The young people, and the not so young, were guided in scavenger hunts, drawing skills and in making finger puppets and name the apple game.

Cakes were eaten, orchard jams and chutneys were bought, as were lollies and fruit leathers supplied by Plenty and honey by Mark. Entertainment was provided by an impromptu assemblage of musicians. It was another successful Apple Day. Thanks everyone.

See some more pictures here

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

 

The focus of today was to make sure the orchard was safe and ready to host Apple Day. A few of the wooden benches are in need of repair, but for the time being we have decided to remove those that are too wobbly to be safe.
 
Paths were cleared, the dogwood weeded and some of the beds weeded in preparation for planting crocuses as an early nectar source for our pollinators.
 
As well as the work at the orchard, there was also the job of gathering and loading all the stuff needed for Apple Day – tables, juicing kit, signs, activities, marquees etc etc. By the end of the day all was set, just the cakes to make. 
 

Bowling Park Community Orchard - BEES 30th Anniversary Event

There was lots to do today, but we did manage to eat birthday cake at lunchtime. Thank you for the contributions. There were no speeches, so I’ll take this opportunity say thank you to everyone who has been involved in BEES over the past 30 years. BEES is all about the people; without volunteers and participants we would not be managing green spaces for wildlife and creating educational spaces. Thank you for your contribution.

In terms of the orchard, today were grass and hedge cutting, clearing around the trees, replacing bark with stone on another section of path and picking a few apples. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

In the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

Well, we can’t say we weren’t warned! There was a Met Office weather warning so we knew we were in for a wet day and that is how it turned out. But despite becoming very soggy we managed to undertake a few summer tasks. 

We started the restrictive pruning of the cordons in order to keep the branches in a contained shape. We harvested the last of the blackcurrants, gooseberries and worcesterberries and the first of the apples. The beauty of Bath were starting to fall from the tree so we picked those that were coming off at a touch. But they were still fairly sour so we are hoping a bit of sunshine will sweeten them up before they fall. 

We harvested onions but left the garlic until a drier day. We cleared around the bottom of some of the trees, and mowed paths though the grass, but left some as it is still a valuable habitat for the frogs, moths, spiders and other invertebrates that our part of our cultivation management. 

We replaced a small section of path leading to Belvedere and tested using some stone to replace the bark on the path. It seems like it may be a good alternative but we will bring the wacker plate up one day to finish off the task.  

 

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.