Then (2011) and now (2017)
The area around the Far Headingley war memorial was a green space, but a pretty boring one. We felt some fruit trees and some seating would enhance the space for everyone and after detailed discussions with Wades Charity and Leeds City Council, work got under way 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.
By Spring 2012 we had trees and bulbs planted, a gate, a hedge laid, 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.
We worked on the orchard for the next couple of years. We found the money to make sturdy labels for all the trees here and at the other St Chad’s site. Despite some flooding due to a cracked water pipe running across the area, the hedge grew, the trees grew and started to bear fruit. Dog walkers and others passing through told us how much they appreciated the ‘new look’.
The autumns of 2015 and 2016 were, though, rather depressing. In both years fruit developed and began to ripen and then suddenly all the fruit vanished from all the trees. This was not squirrels or passers by taking the odd apple, this was the systematic stripping of all the fruit. In 2016 not only did all the fruit vanish but all the labels were levered off the wooden stakes they were screwed and glued onto as well.
We’ve managed to replace the labels and wait to see what happens this autumn.
Varieties 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.
Location of this orchard
The map shows the location of this orchard and the orchard behind the Parish Centre.