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 and the grant award is £8,900. The project is being run by volunteers on behalf of the Parish Council.
This month the project is reaching its major milestones. The booklet “Bishopthorpe in Blossom” should be ready in time for the Apple Pressing day on 13 October. After that it will be available from the library, both on loan and for sale. Hours of research have revealed fascinating aspects of the history of fruit growing and market gardening in Bishopthorpe and the Archbishop’s walled garden, which has been brought together for the first time. For example, school log books from the 1800s record children regularly missing from school in summer to ‘pull fruit’ in the grounds and gardens around the village.
The community orchard site has been carefully tended over the summer to keep on top of the weeds and establish grasses and wildflowers. This month it will be planted up with fruit trees by the Bishopthorpe Scouts. Initially there will be 8 apples and 2 pears, with more to be added this winter, including plums and a gage.
We will be taking further samples of apples and pears to RHS Harlow Carr Apple Day for identification. There are a few varieties in Bishopthorpe which are very old, including the Hessle Pear, Balsam apple and Keswick Codlin apple. The Northern Fruit Group is interested in grafting some of these heritage varieties.
The funded part of the project finishes at the end of the month, but the project will continue with the help of volunteers. Thank you to everyone who has made the project a success! There will be a dedicated page on the Bishopthorpe Community website where we will provide information about the community orchard. We hope that you will enjoy the community orchard as it develops.