This local nature reserve is part of Old Hall Farm smallholding which lies within a former deer park that surrounded much of Beverley during the medieval period. The site dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086, when the Archbishops of York owned the manor.
During mediaeval times, the town of Beverley was surrounded by a deer park with Beverley Parks being part of it. Sadly, much of this has been lost to farmland with the exception of Beverley Westwood and the commons of Figham and Swinemoor, which provide a current insight into the landscape value of a grazed wood-pasture.
During the 13th Century, there were approximately 3,200 parks in England covering 2% of the country. In 1554, Beverley Parks was 900 hectares in size, by 1919 a survey concluded that only 175 hectares remained. The East Riding of Yorkshire Council is currently managing just 20 hectares with neighbouring land intensively farmed.
With the historic market town of Beverley in close proximity and the 13th Century Minster providing an ideal backdrop, Beverly Parks is an ideal location to restore a traditional landscape.
The Countryside Access Team are striving to recreate the parkland that would have been present 600 years ago. This will be achieved through the planting of small copses, singleton trees of native broadleaved species and the re-introduction of cattle.
The reserve comprises 4 compartments; an area of mixed broadleaf woodland; 2 fields that are currently being restored to a traditional Parkland landscape; and the Millennium Orchard which is believed to be one of the largest, non-commercial orchards of northern varieties in England.
The Millennium Orchard was the idea of the East Yorkshire Federation of Women`s Institutes and was first thought of in 1998. By the end of 1999, the shelterbelt had been planted and the spring of 2000 saw the first apple trees planted. The partnership enabled the Women`s Institutes to raise funds for the apple trees and East Riding of Yorkshire Council to provide a prime site for the trees to thrive, here at Beverley Parks. The Northern Fruit Group cast an expert eye to provide assistance with species choice, planting, pruning and management.
The idea of the orchard was as a millennium project for the future and it is hoped that it is still in existence for the next millennium. Its aim is to conserve traditional northern apple varieties, provide a focal point to celebrate National Apple Day and to demonstrate traditional orchard management.
Some of the apple varieties thriving today include Yorkshire Beauty, Yorkshire Aromatic, Keswick Codling, Galloway Pippin, Stirling Castle, Cockpit, Dogsnout and Bloody Ploughman who's name derives from the Carse of Gowrie, about 1880. It was named after a ploughman who was caught stealing the apples and was promptly shot by a gamekeeper!
The Fillingham Pippin that originates from Swanland and the Hornsea Herring that, unsurprisingly, is local to Hornsea were grafted in 2004 and are currently thriving. Both varieties are locally rare and their preservation is of primary importance. Other local varieties growing are Beverley Pippin and the Arram White.
The following pdf document contains a map of Beverley Park.
Map of Beverley Parks (pdf 295kb opens in new window)
The following word document contains a safety information for Beverley Park.
Safety guidance notes for Beverley Parks (word 15.8kb opens in new window)