Holgate Community Orchard and Apiary

Transforming an overgrown and unused allotment plot into an orchard and public space for the local community to enjoy.
Holgate Allotment Association are a volunteer group of allotment holders who try to make Holgate Allotments a great place to socialise and grow veg. We have an allotment plot on the boundary of our site which is unused and completely overgrown but which we think will make a lovely orchard and wildlife area with seating for the local community to enjoy. Clearing the site will be a massive task, but it's one we want to embark on this Autumn. Can you help?

72 GoodGymers have supported Holgate Community Orchard and Apiary with 16 tasks.

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YorkCommunity mission
Paul KellyVicky Hearson
Lyndsey Hay
John Bourton

We are (was)Sailing...

Wednesday 17th January

Written by York runner

A hardy bunch of GG Yorkies braved the sub-zero temperatures to help Helen at the Holgate Community Orchard once again. Some may have been tempted by the promise of a Wassail that was taking place at the orchard after our task

Tonight's task was to move some wood chip onto the pathways to top them up. With only 2 wheelbarrows we took it in turns to shovel and wheel the wheelbarrows (another tick on the January Bingo Challenge!) down along the paths, whilst myself and Jenna got to work on some wooden pallets. We moved a small pile of pallets from one side of the orchard to the other and Jenna sawed the largest one in half before we left them all neatly stacked. John helped Helen to rake the large piles of wood chips as they were delivered, making a lovely, soft and thick path, filling in all around the bench area.

As our hour was up, we finished the last few barrows of wood chip as the Wassaillers arrived. We stayed and watched their dance around the trees (including putting toast on the trees to attract robins), had some warm cider and enjoyed their singing and dancing before heading to the pub to warm up.

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YorkGroup run
David BarrettStefan DurkinLyndsey HayCharlotte JonesBen DoveAmy Woollard

🌱 Weed don’t need no tessellation 👍

Monday 6th November 2023

Written by Nicky Woodall (she/her)

🌧️ 18 excellent GoodGymmers gathered for our weekly group run. The rain may have been present when we first arrived but it quickly absented itself for the rest of the evening, which was greatly appreciated.

🎇 We named, numbered and warmed up by discussing bonfire night. There were some fans and some not-so-fans (mostly for pet/environment-related reasons, so fair enough). We did learn that it took Lucy’s family 17 matches to light a sparkler though, which is pretty impressive!

✌️ We split into two groups, with Mitch leading the way to Holgate Community Orchard. Here’s what he had to say about their task:

🧱 At Holgate Orchard, we were tasked with clearing a large area of ivy, transferring the soil pile into this section and flattening it. The idea is the area will have a shed, shrubbery and raised beds on it by spring. With that in mind we had no time to lose! A few of us got to work clearing as much ivy and roots as possible, whilst the largest group were digging up a large pile of soil and laying it over this section. There was even time for some litter (i.e. brick) picking.

🍎 After making progress, we came to our two main obstacles. Very large roots and old carpets. We needed to remove these before we could transfer any more soil. So through teamwork (driven by a determined Carl) we removed the roots and carpet.

👌 We made a large headway on this task, and will definitely be back soon!

🌹 The rest of us headed to West Bank Park, Ed leading the running group while four of us cycled. We knew the drill and quickly got to work. Ed and Stef were appointed skip-based shovellers while the rest of the gang shuttled wheelbarrows of compost to and from the rose garden. With one more barrow than barrowers, we were able to maximise efficiency this time (though some people were sad they didn’t get a break between barrow-loads!)

🐾 Kristina has brought cardboard and plastic sheets to try and protect the ground from getting any more muddy and Penny (and Wookie!) did a good job of directing everyone on their first trips there!

💪 It was certainly quite the workout, with tonnes (maybe not literally) of compost moved, miles covered and muscles built. Good work everyone, and if you missed it, don’t worry as we’ll be back there next week.

🗻 After a quick group photo, Mitch has invited us to join their group for some hill reps on Windmill Rise. So without further ado, the runners headed there while the cyclists helped Kristina pack up (ensuring the wheelbarrows were appropriately tessellated and the little stuffed pig that appeared from nowhere found a home!) It was soon time to head back to base and onto home or the pub.

👏 Thank you everyone, see you again soon!

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YorkGroup run
Ed WoollardDavid Barrett
Cara OrganCarl Wain

🪵 The stakes are high 💥

Monday 23rd October 2023

Written by Nicky Woodall (she/her)

🦉 22 excellent GoodGymmers gathered on a chilly Monday evening for our weekly group run. We named, numbered and warmed up whilst discussing our favourite birds. Owls were popular, although some folk went for the innuendo options!

✌️We had two tasks this evening so split into two groups and parted ways. Here’s what Ed had to say about the Park Grove crew:

🧸 On arriving at Park Grove we split off into two teams. Nikki G had unfinished business with a mound of earth so swiftly got to work with a spade along with Laura, Jenna and Cara. The second team armed themselves with loppers and saws and set about cutting the willow trees down to size. All was going well until the lights from the school went out and Lucy discovered a very creepy doll nestled in one of the trees.

🃏 After completing the task the two teams joined together for a round of card based fitness. Each person taking it in turn to 'draw a card' (press a button on Ed's phone) which determined the subsequent exercise. There may be a few sore logs after waaaaay too many squats!

🍎 Meanwhile, at Holgate Community Orchard, we’d been promised destruction (hence it was a popular option!)

💥 They’re wanting to build some new sheds so the area surrounding the old sheds needed clearing, which involved some fairly heavy labour! Rich, Dan and Max set to with removing a stake from the ground, digging, mattocking and tugging until eventually, it came out! Others were shifting bricks, picking them up and digging them out. Again, a very manual task!

🪵 The other half of our Holgate crew were “Team Stick”. These guys were moving previously-piled sticks to a new location and removing side-branches/“nobbles”. The sticks were then sorted by girth and shortened to the 60cm standard. Much discussion over the accuracy of everyone’s 60cm measurement ensued, with Dom claiming to have “an unerring sense of 60cm”.

🌳 With two minutes remaining, Helen asked if one final job could be completed - sawing down a (small) tree stump. Rich volunteered and completed this quickly.

📸 And with that, it was time for a group photo and fitness session before a run back to base and on to the pub for some.

👏 Thank you everyone, good work 💪

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YorkGroup run
Paul KellyAbi PerrinTamar Goudie (Tay)MitchMichael LeadbetterGeorge W

🦆 The birds and the bee(r)s 🐝🍻

Monday 28th August 2023

Written by Nicky Woodall (she/her)

🥳 21 excellent GoodGymmers joined our bank holiday group run-social bonanza this evening.

🍹 We named, numbered and warmed up while discussing our favourite soft drinks. Elderflower and Irn-Bru (not together) were our slightly unexpected winners, alongside some classics (water and tea) and other interesting additions (anything with rhubarb in and homemade lemonade). Feeling slightly thirsty thanks to that, we set off on our run to Holgate Community Orchard.

🌺 It’s still incredibly exciting to see the transformation that we’ve been part of there. The plot we worked on originally is no longer mud but a grass and wildflower haven. There’s still plenty of work to do though, and speaking of mud, our talk today was to start digging over another patch of soil, which will also hopefully be transformed soon, this time into a wildflower meadow, with some bee-friendly additions.

💪 Alongside the digging over, we were also digging out brambles and anything else we could find. This required some hard work and a variety of techniques, including the classic jumping on the spade. Some of the brambles had particularly large roots, giving quite the sense of achievement when they finally came out. Alongside this were some other unusual finds, including what looked like a very old steering lock. Pete was also tasked with digging out “random metal items”. Having shown his penchant for it, he was requested by Helen to dig out two large metal poles that may or may not have been used for growing raspberries at some point 🤷‍♀️

🌳 Our diggers were so efficient that we soon had to expand our area, which Helen was delighted about. We also had a small group “branch” off to do some stick-sorting. A big pile needed stripping and sorting by size, the larger ones being put out for reuse, the smaller ones being used for compost.

🧩 With 10 minutes to go, Helen from the allotments suggested we start covering the soil over. We weren’t satisfied to leave a wonky line though, so I attempted to draw a straight-ish line to work towards. This was done with aplomb and efficiency, with the coverings being reapplied effectively. This required a bit of covering Tetris as we attempted to piece together the assortment of coverings of various shapes. There was a tense moment when Michael and Nick thought they’d found the perfect spot for their piece, only to learn it didn’t quite fit with the rest of the puzzle! Fortunately, Michael quickly found a substitute spot for it so all was not lost.

🎭 After all that drama, it was time for a group photo on our slightly less picturesque soil, in front of the beautifully-converted area behind. A short blast of fitness “enjoyed” (endured?) by most, hidden from (in a bush, literally) by others meant we were ready for the next part of the evening.

ℹ️ We also noticed that we got a mention on the new information board about the orchard, which is pretty exciting.

🍻 Steve and Mitch has kindly brought down some alcohol-free beer, courtesy of Athletic Brewing (one of GoodGym’s sponsors), which we enjoyed in the surroundings of the Community Orchard. Others had brought snacks to share, including some homegrown figs and apples, and homemade raspberry cake (and not to forgot the ever-so-important Red Leicester Mini Cheddars for Abigail!) A jolly time was had by all, until we started getting eaten alive slightly by various biting insects. That was our cue to leave so we parted ways and there ended our evening.

👏 Thank you everyone, see you again soon!

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YorkGroup run
MitchCharlotte JonesMichael HertaegDebs SharpeLyndsey HayAmy Woollard

🍀 Good lock 🗝️

Monday 26th June 2023

Written by Nicky Woodall (she/her)

💪 27 incredible GoodGymmers met for our group run on yet another sunny Monday evening. And I don’t say incredible lightly- lots of people had come along after doing Endure 24 weekend, two of whom (David and Michal) had done Endure solo! What a bunch of heroes.

🦸‍♀️ Speaking of which, we also had two official heroes to celebrate this evening. Charlotte was doing her 50th good deed and Barbara was doing her 502nd! Amazing!

👟 Finally, lots of people had brought shoes for our collection for the Jog On charity. We reckon we had 29 pairs in total!

🕛 We named, “numbered” (which some people struggled with more than you might expect!) and warmed up whilst saying what we’d spend 24 hours doing if we had the chance (sleeping and eating were both popular, along with raving, of course Stef!)

🍎 We then split into two groups. Ed led the run to Holgate Community Orchard, with Pete backmarking. They were greeted by lots of people who’d joined by bike, and Claire who was our official photographer this evening, and gave these highlights about the session:

  • Max found a number of flower pots but not enough to resuscitate Bill and Ben the flower pot men.

  • Nick was prompted to toss his caber/caper but then Debs appeared with a thicker stick and a martial arts sporting event transpired.

  • Turns out York GG has a number of folk who could well be management material, as was judged by the number standing round, leaning on tools chatting.

  • Tarzan was spotted swinging on ivy (being pulled off the tree). Abigail skipping skills on ivy rope.

  • Ivy roots were dug out by team spades.

  • Others pulled up the usual weeds, rocks, carpets, metal things (including car steering wheel lock), netting etc etc. Piles of weeds were created.

  • A stack of wood was enlarged.

  • Rocks were relocated to hold down the weed blankets.

  • Lots of Endure24 banter.

  • Two capes.

📦 Meanwhile, Amy, Mitch and I were packing all the trainers into boxes to send to the Jog On charity. We filled two big boxes, with optimal shoe tessellation, which we then walked down to the Spar on Bridge Street (after Martin had done an emergency dash for more tape as mine ran out!) There was much discussion about the awkwardness of box-carrying, and then more about the fact that the Spar is no longer a Spar and is in fact now a Londis. We got them there and posted, and took our spare box to Dom’s for a further collection next week. We then cycled to join the rest of the gang at the Orchard.

📸 It was soon time to run/walk/cycle back but not before we’d had both a group photo and a bike group photo.

🍰 Back at base, it was time for stretching, cake-eating (thanks Barbara) and pub! We also discussed a few sessions that need a few more pairs of hands this week:

🌍 Tidying up at Planet Food on Thursday afternoon,

📚 Book-sorting at Tang Hall Library on Thursday evening,

🌱 Dealing with the docks at Acomb (as in plants, not ducks, doctors or dogs) on Friday evening,

🔫 Pretty Muddy Race for Life volunteering (aka marshalling, including spraying water at runners!) on Sunday.

👍There are also a few (non-gardening!) missions listed at the moment so do sign up for any that you can.

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YorkGroup run
MitchAidan KettlePeteAbigail DartonDanLyndsey Hay

🥵 Too hot to handle 🐸

Monday 29th May 2023

Written by Nicky Woodall (she/her)

☀ 26 excellent GoodGymmers gathered for our third and final bank holiday group run of the month. And a lovely sunny evening it was too.

👋 We were thrilled to welcome Michaela for her first group run, and to see Louise who’s visiting up from London.

🦸‍♂ Sadly, I completely forgot to bring the cape for Ed’s very impressive 300th good deed so that glorious moment/photo op is yet to come. Well done though 👍

🥔 We named, numbered and warmed up with a slightly ad hoc question (which fit with my slightly disorganised mind this evening). In honour of it being whitsun weekend, we offered our favourite comedian and/or potato dishes. There were some very reputable comedians cited but personally, it also just reminded me how many great ways there are you serve potatoes (dauphinois, hash browns, croquettes), which in turn made me pretty hungry.

🍎 Ed led the run to Holgate Community Orchard where we marvelled in the progress that’s been made in the 18-ish months that we’ve been coming here. The first part of the patch is blooming with wildflowers so we got stuck into the second. One job there was to lop nettles, dig brambles and remove bindweed. Meanwhile, another group got stuck in removing stones from a stony patch.

🧲 A third group were on random metal object extraction duties. Door handles/hinges and horseshoes were among their finds, with some impressive digging to get them out. More natural finds were a potato plant by Charlotte (which Helen thinks must have been there for decades) and a frog by Bernie. We can’t wait to see how this part of the orchard turns out and we’re particularly excited to hear more about the bee initiatives there 🐝

🗻 Some excellent work was done during our time there tonight, before we headed to Windmill Rise for some hill reps. We did these in pairs and included a warm up and cool down plus three higher intensity reps in the middle.

🍻 With that, it was time to head back to base and home/on to the pub.

🌺 We’ve got a few sessions coming up this week, including this one at North Street Gardens on Wednesday evening with Barbara so do sign up and join us if you can.

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