There are several plots currently under development. One in Shire Oak Primary School, one behind the Natural Food Store on North Lane and one behind the Parish Centre near St Chad's in Far Headingley. Our most ambitious development so far has been the creation of a community orchard around the war memorial in Far Headingley (again near St Chad's parish centre). This project is in partnership with Leeds City Council and Wade's Charity.
In the autumn/winter of 2014 we got involved in an exciting initiative to plant fruit trees in the meadow at the bottom of Cardboard Hill on Woodhouse Ridge. WRAG (Woodhouse Ridge Action Group) is engaged in a project to reclaim the bottom meadow, reintroducing wild flowers, reinstating a hedge which used to border Wood Lane, replanting woodland edge species along the lower edge of Batty's Wood and establishing an informal orchard of fruit and nut trees suitable for the site.
Shire Oak Primary School: the children already have an interest in trees and the environment. We prepared the beds in the late summer 2010 with a view to planting trees and soft fruit in the autumn when the new school year was under way.
On October 21st children in Year 5 planted some trees, some strawberries and some bulbs.
Bush trees: Plum 'Marjories' Seedling'
Fan trained Cherry: 'Early Rivers'
Pear (espalier ) 'Williams Bon Cretien'
Cordon Apples: 'Egremont Russet'
In spring 2013 we erected a fence and poles for another set of apple cordons so that both sides of the path down to the school are bordered with fruit trees.
The other planted plot is at the back of the Natural Food Store. We've planted:
Raspberry 'Glen Ample' x 10 canes
Cherry 'Cherokee' x1 to be fan trained on post and wires.
Apple 'Lord Derby' x1 to be fan trained on post and wires.
Details about varieties.
Delicious, large fruit produced in mid-summer on this extremely heavy-yielding summer cultivar with vigorous, upright, spine-free canes. The berries are produced on long, upright stems, making picking easy.
(ref : www.rhs.org.uk)
A sweet cherry, ready to pick from early July. Produces large dark red cherries, which become near black as they ripen.
Large, good flavoured cherry; vigorous tree which produces heavy crops with good split resistance; recent variety from a Van/Stella cross raised in British Columbia.
(ref : www.rvroger.co.uk )
Apple 'Lord Derby'
Pick in October, ready to use October / November
A very prolific late culinary apple, raised in 1862, which has many attributes - the grass-green fruit have a fine flavour and stay intact when cooked; the tree is very hardy and suitable for the North; good resistance to scab and succeeds well on wet soils. Thin the fruit in June for the best sized apples.
At the end of March 2011 we planted 9 trees on the perimeter of the field behind St Chad's Parish Centre (to join the self-seeded plum that is already there): 2 pears (Williams Bon Cretien and Conference), a Victoria plum; 3 dessert apple varieties (Egremont Russet; Claygate Permain and Ashmeads Kernel) and 3 cooking apples (Lane's Prince Albert; Newton Wonder; and Bramleys Seedling).
The area around the war memorial in Far Headingley is being developed as a remembrance orchard, with a variety of fruit trees and some seating.
After detailed discussions with Wades Charity and Leeds City Council, work got under way here in October 2011. The first task was to dig holes and prepare the ground for the trees.
Members of the Far Headingley Village Society got involved and were particularly helpful in tackling the long border.
Bu Spring 2012 we had trees and bulbs planted, a gate and an octagonal seat made for us by Horticap.
We commissioned Sarah Dunton, an artist and printmaker living locally, to design us a sign for the orchard.
Varieties we have planted on this site
Annie Elizabeth (culinary)
Annie Elizabeth is an old-fashioned English cooking apple, possibly a seedling of Blenheim Orange, which it resembles in shape and size, and also in its relatively sweet flavour.
Ashmead's Kernel - Dessert
Ashmeads Kernel has remained popular for well over 2 centuries, and with good reason: it has a distinctive flavour which is quite different from most other varieties. Tasters rarely agree on exactly what the elusive flavour reminds them of, but pear drops is probably close.
According to Robert Hogg, writing at the end of the 19th century, Green Balsam is a variety known only in the northern parts of the county of North Yorkshire, where it is very popular. It was commonly known as the Farmer's Wife's apple, a testament no doubt to its culinary uses.
Discovery - Dessert
Discovery is a bit like Beaujolais Noveau - its appeal is entirely down to being fresh and new. The colours are a fresh yellow-green, usually with dark red patches where the sun has caught it.
Howgate Wonder (culinary)
A very large apple that can be quite sweet and pleasant when eaten fresh but basically it is a cooking apple. Red flush
Katy - Dessert
Katy is an attractive medium-sized apple, usually bright red in colour over a light green yellow background. The flesh is a pale cream colour, and on the softer side of crunchy. Katy is usually a very juicy, and when fresh from the tree the juice goes everywhere as you bite into it. It has a fairly mild apple flavour, a bit of refreshing acidity, and in a good year a hint of strawberry.
King of the Pippins
The main attraction of King of the Pippins today is its versatility. It can be used as a dessert apple but also has many culinary uses. It keeps its shape when cooked and brings an authentic old-fashioned flavour. The sweet-sharp juice is also useful for making fresh apple juice and in cider-making.
Lucombe's Pine - Dessert
Rich aromatic pineapple flavour, Yellow apple with russet flecks
Red Devil - Dessert
Red Devil is a mid-season apple, notable for its distinctive red flesh.
Ribston Pippin - Dessert
M25 standard.: To be grown as a standard tree. Triploid with moderate growth. Old Yorkshire Variety
Winter Cockpit (culinary)
Sweet sharp flavour. Related to an old Yorkshire variety 'Yorkshire Cockpit'
Winter Gem - Dessert
Good quality late dessert apple, with pink flushed fruit, which keep well. Aromatic with crisp and juicy flesh.
Fruit: large size/deep red skin, introduced in 1968. Sweet, juicy cherry; reliable and heavy cropping; the first self-fertile variety raised in Canada from a Lambert/JI2420 cross; a good pollinator for other cherries; winner of an RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Fruit: medium size/bright red skin, introduced in 1944. One of the latest ripening sweet cherries; heart-shaped fruit with a pleasant sweet flavour with a refreshingly acidic undertone; a Van/Newstar cross; a vigorous, self-fertile variety from British Columbia which has good resistance to brown rot.
Fruit: very large size/white skin, introduced in 1967. Very large, white cherry of exhibition quality with a suberb flavour; can be pollinated by Lapins or Stella ; a recent variety from Ontario.
A heavy cropper, this is a gage-like plum, sweet and juicy and excellent for cooking, jam making and desserts.
Sweet and full of flavour, the fruit is dark yellow colour, small, oval shaped, with a smooth-textured flesh, primarily used in jams and pies The mirabelle reaches maturity and is harvested from July to mid-September.
Valor is a large dark purple late-season plum with yellow flesh. Can be used for cooking as well as eating.
An early-season pear, very well suited to UK gardens. It grows in a neat and compact fashion (although quite upright like most pears). Cropping is very good in most situations.
A fairly new variety that combines the strengths of two classic 19th century varieties. From Conference it inherits reliability, cropping potential, and excellent suitability for the UK climate. From Doyenne du Comice it inherits top quality flavour. The result is a pear that has both an excellent flavour and yet grows well in the sometimes marginal conditions of an English summer.
Also known as the Hazel pear. Its name connects it with the Yorkshire town of Hessle, now a suburb of Hull. It is hardy pear and will thrive in almost any situation. The fruit is juicy and sweet.
A large redish purple fig, more tolerant in cold weather than most. Very sweet, oustanding figs.
This is a medium sized tree that naturally grow in a bush form. The fruit are too delicate to travel when ripe and can't really be picked until they are.
The majority of our trees have come from Adam’s Apples, Egremont Barn, Payhembury, Honiton, Devon, EX14 3JA. The other main supplier was R.V.Roger Ltd., The Nurseries, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7JW.
We started to contribute to Woodhouse Ridge Action Group's reclamation of Batty's Wood in November 2014. The site is in the bottom meadow below Cardboard Hill.
WRAG volunteers had already cleared some of the area. We dug some planting holes.
A couple of weeks later we combined with WRAG volunteers to actually plant the trees and a fruitful hedge.
We were able to try our gazebo out in a woodland setting.
Working parties usually take place on a Sunday from 10am to 12 noon - often, but not always, the second Sunday in the month. Do drop in for some or all of the time if you'd like to help. We have spare tools.
We often meet at the St Chad's War Memorial site but keep an eye on this webpage because we may meet at one of our other sites. The next few working parties will be
Sunday April 9th at Woodhouse Ridge Orchard for general maintenance including pruning and also to replace a missing tree;
Sunday May 7th at St Chad's War Memorial site to complete any further pruning, general tidying and empty compost bin;
Sunday June 11th - venue to be decided later
Sunday July 9th - venue to be decided later.
If you'd like to join in but don't know exactly where to come, do email us and we can explain.
Woodhouse Ridge location
Shire Oak Primary School is on Wood Lane, Headingley, Leeds LS6 2DT