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

Bowling Park Drive, BD4

Today we were focusing on ensuring the site was ready for Apple Day. We finished weeding the seating areas and path and topped up some areas with new bark chip. We had bought a full load but this turned out to be only a fraction of what was needed.

We also paid attention to areas of nettles and other unwanted plants, as well as a bit of weeding in the vegetable beds. We harvested apples and did as much preparation for Sunday as possible in advance.

10 volunteers

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Bowling Park Community Orchard, allotments Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

19th Sept 201419th Sept 2014Nine volunteers worked at the orchard today. The fence and gate were repaired and replaced. Fruit and vegetables, mainly potatoes, were harvested. The pathways were cleared and areas of vegetation cut. 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Allotments, Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

We will carry out general maintenance tasks at the Orchard. As always there will be plenty to do to keep the site looking cared for as the harvest season approaches. This included mowing the grass next to the path, and weeding around the trees and raised beds. The belvedere was looked at, with the old graffiti and vanish removed and a new coating painted on.

On the day too we had a wonderful surprise with a family of wrens, with the fledging hopping in the freshly mown grass and a strange encounter with a colony of caterpillar.

Today we were in a group of 13 

 

Click Here to view the rest of the days pictures

Click Here to view the BEES Flickr page

Blossom Day 2014

Bowling Park Community Orchard, allotments Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

We had a lovely day at the orchard today.

Everyone worked hard to tackle several essential tasks - grass cutting and general weeding, clearing around the trees and applying some food (seaweed meal, fine charcoal and compost), clearing the area near the new gazebo, and weeding and planting vegetable seeds.

This year the vegetable beds are an extension of our Ration Garden. The seeds we planted were donated by the Heritage Seed Library and the potatoes are varieities that were being grown over 100 years ago. Read more about our WW1 Ration Garden here.

The forcast had been for a chilly day but we were actually blessed with warm sunshine (and the need for suncream!). And another bonus was the amount of blossom! The orchard looked lovely.

There is still quite a lot of work to do to finish the spring tasks. We are next at the orchard on 6th June.

Click here to view the rest of the days pictures

Click here to view the BEES Flickr account

Bowling Park Community Orchard

In the allotments, Bowling Park Drive, BD4

As part of the Apples for All project, horticulturist Andrew Chapman joined us to deliver some tree pruning training. There is a lot to learn and take in, but the more we learn and put those lessons into practice the better the fruit production will be in the future. At the same time other jobs were being carried out around the site, these included cutting the privet hedges, laying the native hedge and clearing encroaching vegetation. This will improve the amount of sunlight that is able to get to the trees and their fruit. The missing tree labels were replaced, now visitors can identify the trees and the label includes useful information like when to harvest the fruit. Considering the weather of heavy rain which set in before lunch it was impressive that the group kept going to get as much of the work completed as possible. But there is still more hedges to cut before the birds really get on with nesting.

Today we worked with 8 volunteers.

 

Click here to view the photos of the day

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.