Many events are held at the allotment over the course of a year. These include:
- Spring Fair
- Apple Juice and Cider making days
- Pruning courses
- Wreath making at Christmas
- Children activities including pond-dipping and pizza!
- Hedgelaying work parties
- Bonfire parties
For new upcoming events follow this link
The Spring Fair is normally held in early May but had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Spring Fair is held at the Golden Hill site at the Community Garden and car park area. This has become a local tradition in Bishopston and over 500 people come to these events, especially if the weather is kind to us!
One of the activities to come out of the Centenary project has been the apple juice and cider making weekends in the autumn. These involved volunteers in many hours of happy gathering, washing, chopping, scratting and pressing of apples from all over the Golden Hill site. The result has been some delicious apple juice and headache-inducing cider! It is expected that this will become an annual event.
Do you grow apple, pear or plum trees on your allotment? Puzzled by pruning or pests? Pick from a new crop of Orchard Learning courses at Horfield Organic Community Orchard (HOCO), located in Davies field on the Golden Hill site.
Courses take place in HOCO’s rich and diverse outdoor learning environment. They are led by Shannon Smith, a knowledgeable and down-to-earth tutor.
Courses take place in spring and summer and include:
Introduction to Pruning Apples & Pears in the growing season
Pruning Apple & pear trees in the Growing season weekend course
Group sizes are small, and early booking is advised.
On the Saturday nearest to November 5th, a large bonfire is set ablaze on the Golden Hill site car park and the community is invited to gather round it and have hot soup, toasted marshmallow, mulled cider and juice while watching the nearby Bishop Road School fireworks on the adjacent field.
Every winter there is a volunteer work party led by Roger, which maintains the historic hedges around the Golden Hill site. This involves the ancient art of laying hedges, by cutting through the larger tree trunks and bending them over such that the hedge carries on living and forms a dense barrier of undergrowth which is an ideal habitat for birds and other creatures to live and forage.
Every winter in January, a wassail is held at the Horfield Organic Orchard on the Golden Hill site. This is part of a revival of an ancient tradition which is increasingly popular amongst communities in Bristol and beyond. Wassail means “healthy” or “well”, as in “hale and hearty”.
Once common across the cider-producing regions of the south and west, the orchard wassail involves the community visiting the orchards, singing songs, beating the trees to stimulate growth, and offering gifts of toast and cider to the trees to promote a good harvest in the coming year.
It may seem unscientific, but there is some logic in this: the beating of the trees helps remove dead wood and stimulates the tree from dormancy, the toast attracts birds which eat pests, and the singing (and cider) is good for the community spirit and well-being! A variation of the wassail is the house-visiting wassail, which has been subsumed within what we know as carol signing.
These words are the first verse of The Gloucestershire Wassail – there are many variations of this theme from cider growing counties:
Wassail! Wassail all over the town!
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing-bowl, we´ll drink to thee!