Orchard Project – April Newsletter

Bishopthorpe Community Orchard and Heritage project

This is a Heritage Lottery funded project which aims to highlight Bishopthorpe’s orchard heritage and create a new community orchard for the village. The project runs from 1 November 2018 to 31 October 2019.

If you have been to Ferry Lane playing field recently you may have noticed that a lot has changed on the community orchard site in the last few weeks! Following the successful litter picking and bramble cutting event at the end of January, Jonathan Short (Ainsty Landscapes) has very kindly dug the site over and rotovated it. Thank you to all the volunteers who came to our second community event and pulled out wheel barrow loads of bramble and nettle roots which had carpeted the area.  This summer it will be essential to keep on top of the weeds by regular cutting.  If you are able to help with this, especially if you have a ride-on mower, we would love to hear from you.

So much progress has been made, that BBC Radio York heard about the project and featured it as one of their secret locations on ‘Finders Keepers’ on Saturday 2nd March. If you missed the programme, it may still be available on the BBC website. It was clue number 4.

Fruit tree experts, Tony Chalcraft and Jane Thurlow, have now held 2 training events on fruit tree pruning in gardens in the village.  Both events were very popular and took place in contrasting conditions: the first in warm sunshine, the second in rain!  We had a go at tackling some old apple trees which had not been pruned for many years. Tony and Jane advised to first cut out the dead and diseased wood, then rubbing branches, and then branches crossing the middle of the tree.  The ultimate aim is an open centre to the tree which ‘a robin could fly through.’ There was much discussion, and although some pruning was done, they advised not doing too much in one year because of the risk of ‘shocking the tree’.  I think we can all say that, with our newly trained eyes, we now look at fruit trees in a different way! No more pruning events are planned, but if there is enough demand, we may be able to run another event in Bishopthorpe next winter.

Our research into the history of orchards in the village is continuing, and if you have any photos or memories of orchards from the ‘old days’ please do get in touch. We would also like to hear about the locations of any old fruit trees in the village.

For more information about the project, including the newsletter and forthcoming events, use the ‘orchard’ tag on www.bishopthorpe.net.  To contact the project please email bishorchard@yahoo.com or phone 07563 798408.

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