Orchard Project – September Newsletter

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.

Last month the project made a major purchase – an apple press for use at the annual village apple pressing event. Taking advice from the Otley Chevin orchard project, and looking at the presses they use, we decided on a traditional ‘rack and cloth screw press’. This is a large press which will be an attractive focal point for apple pressing and will enable the parish council to organise more than one event. We have also acquired a ‘scratter’ which grates the apples before they go into the press. Other purchases include a range of professional tools for pruning fruit trees, which can be loaned out to help with the management of old fruit trees in the village.

Work on the booklet ‘Bishopthorpe in Blossom’ has been completed and it goes to print this month. So much fascinating information has been uncovered about Bishopthorpe’s orchard heritage and we have had some lovely interviews with local residents and farmers. An amazing photograph has been discovered in the village archives showing the Bishopthorpe Palace walled garden, taken in 1949 from the top of St Andrews church tower. It shows the garden fully intact, with glasshouses and garden which extended well outside the current walls. Look out for this in the booklet, which will be available from the library in October!

We hope to take samples of apples to RHS Harlow Carr Apple Day in October for identification. If you have an old apple tree and are interested to know what variety it is, please get in touch and we may be able to include it.

The funded part of the project draws to a close next month with the planting of the trees in the community orchard. We would like to thank the many people who have helped make the project a success, in particular Linda Haywood (village archivist), Brunswick Organic Nursery, 1st Bishopthorpe Scouts, Bishopthorpe Playgroup, Ainsty Lawncare and Landscapes, Natural England, and the many local residents who have turned out to help at the community orchard site.

To contact the project please email bishorchard@yahoo.com or phone 07563 798408.

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