Deans Park

Hidden behind the adjacent towering York Minster Dean’s Park is a great place for a picnic or for relaxing. The park features great views of York Minster and other adjacent historic buildings. Whilst not obviously a flower-rich site the park is covered with colourful crocus flowers in February and early March. Plentiful seating is available and street vendors sell ice-cream and drinks nearby.

Cared for by:
The Dean and Chapter of York Minster

North Street Gardens

If you are looking for a quiet place to sit down right in the city centre then North Street Gardens is a good choice. The gardens have plenty of seating, trees providing shade and there are excellent views of passing boats and The Guildhall just across the river. The gardens are unusual in that they feature a broken water pump, which commemorates the work of Dr John Snow, who in the 19th century proved that cholera was a water-borne disease by removing the water pump handle from a site in London with a high incidence of cholera. The outbreak came to an end. In 2003 Dr Snow was voted by UK doctors as the greatest physician of all time.

Cared for by:
City of York Council

Leeman Park

A large area of flood plain with long grasses, wildflowers, well established Weeping Willows and Lombardy Poplar, and young stands of new woodland. There is a paved public cycle and footpath leading from the centre of town to Jubilee terrace, and a footpath/track following the river as far as Water End and around to the RSPCA kennels.

The Friends of Leeman Park are a newly formed group of volunteers from around the Leeman Road Area. The volunteers all have a shared vision to improve and maintain their local area. The map on this page shows the areas the group have committed to working on. The group intend to work in Back Park and the Cycle Way into town from the Leeman Road area.

Friends of Leeman Park are always looking for volunteers. As much or as little as you wish to give will be beneficial to their group and community. They’re looking for all different types of people, practical people who can help with maintenance on the ground, as well as people who are interested in taking an administrative or planning role.

Cared for by:
Friends of Leeman Park

Things to help out with here:

Homestead Park

Homestead Park is a great place to visit for all the family. The park has some very colourful flowerbeds, open areas for picnics, a large children’s play area, an arboretum and a very picturesque pond which is surrounded by a rockery. The flowerbeds are usually designed to match a different theme each year. In the summer months the park also features a café, mobile library and an area selling garden plants. The park was donated to the city by Seebohm Rowntree in 1904. The park also features a good variety of local wildlife.

Cared for by:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation


Hull Road Park

A traditional park with flowerbeds, grassy areas, tennis courts and a children’s play area. A stream running along the edge of the park is being managed for wildlife by a keen group of volunteers.

Cared for by:
City of York Council

Things to help out with here:
Park management, planting flowers

Holgate Community Garden

Holgate Community Garden came into being in Spring 2014: a community effort to transform a neglected park into a vibrant, life-enhancing space for anyone to come enjoy and for the community to have the opportunity to grow edibles and participate in gardening.

If you were to visit the garden today you could expect to see a jubilant, pollinator-friendly garden, all organically managed, with year-round interest and a wide variety of edibles grown in 6 new raised beds; flowering climbers rambling up new pergolas with lots of bird feeders frequented by long-tailed tits, blue tits, and robins; lots of nasturtiums, giant artichokes, and sun flowers; a herb and currant bed in its seventh year of establishment; a south-west facing wall with six-year-old espaliered apples and a variety of raspberry canes; 8 young fruit trees dotted through the garden (a plum, a gage, and several heritage apple varieties); the “Babby Oak” tree planted by local school children in the heart of a very small wildflower meadow entering its third year of establishment; and lots of children playing on new play equipment or picking and eating fresh herbs and veg, often making creations to proffer at their improvised cafe “The Ginger Cat” (named after local cat Ziggy, a regular at the garden)—collection and deliveries available from the window of the stationary wooden train.

Cared for by:
Holgate Community Garden (voluntary group of local residents)

Things to help out with here:
Weeding, watering, planting, raking, litter picking, pruning, scything…

Drop in Sessions:
Last Sunday of every month 3-4pm

Rowntree Park

Rowntree Park is a 25 acre park around 15 minutes walk from York City Centre. The park was gifted to York City Council in 1921 by the Rowntree family as a memorial park. The park was to be a place to remember the Rowntree Cocoa workers who died in the First World War and be a place of rest and recreation for those who survived and their families. The park has numerous features including two large ponds, a Grade II listed lychgate and dovecote, play parks, a skatepark, basket ball court, table tennis facilities amongst others. There are also tennis courts and a cafe, but the latter are run separately to the rest of the park. The park is a mix of historical and traditional features along with newer additions that reflect changes in leisure and gardening/park design. Some features reflect the historical symmetrical layout of the park, biut the edges of the park and mini woodlands and wildlife areas. As the park is prone to flooding (based next to the River Ouse), this brings both challenges and diversity in terms of eco systems.

The council still do the basic management of the park in general, but most new planting and developments are down to the Friends of Rowntree Park. The Friends of Rowntree Park are a charity that help to maintain and develop the physical space, run community events and an extensive volunteer programme.

The physical areas the Friends of Rowntree Park volunteers care for include the long borders, the two railed gardens (the Family Garden and Sensory garden) the rose pergola and footprint maze, as well as newer developments like the Pollinator Garden. We also care for the Forest School story circle areas and others as and when our capacity and funding allows. The Friends have also started to develop a new wildlife area at the back of the Butcher Terrace Field and the beck area in 2021. This is a 4 year project that will enhance the orchard, include a new pond, bog garden and rockery area (to encourage amphibians and small mammals), coppiced wood, a new education area and much more. In addition to a pond in this area – we are also adding a new pond (with a viewing platform) near the play parks in conjunction with the charity, Froglife. In Autumn 2021 we are also starting a new project based on a creating a Tansy Beetle Habitat. This will be located near the Lovell Street entrance.

In addition to caring and developing physical spaces in the park, the Friend offer an extensive education programme and also activities to support the community’s mental health and well being. Examples include Forest School, Home Education sessions, Green Wood working, Natural Crafts for adults (Woods for Wellbeing), education days for local schools (including running the John Muir Award in conjunction with schools), a weekly craft group, special small volunteer groups, free nature and history walks and much more! We have devised Tree Trails, Yoga Trails, Art in the Park displays and ‘Words from a Bench’ projects.


Cared for by
Friends of Rowntree Park & City of York Council

You can support the work of the Friends of Rowntree Park volunteers by becoming a member for just £5 a year! We also always welcome volunteers, members or people who want to run events in the park that fit with our charity aims.


Museum Gardens

Over ten acres of stunning botanical gardens in the heart of the city. The York Museum Gardens are an idyllic haven with an array of plant species, wildlife, and historical features to explore.

Established in the 1830s by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, the gardens are famed for their fantastic collection of trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs set against the stunning backdrop of the medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey.

Following recent redevelopment work, the gardens now extend to the back of York Art Gallery and include an Edible Wood and an Artists Garden with outdoor changing exhibitions.

Cared for by:
York Museums Trust


West Bank Park

West Bank Park is a 16-acre park in the middle of Holgate, about 30 minutes walk west from the centre of York. Entrances can be found on Holgate Road, New Lane, Hamilton Drive and James Backhouse Place. It boasts a mature woodland and former arboretum at the top end of the park, off Acomb Road. There are many specimen trees including a giant Redwood, one of two magnificent trees which mark the historical entrance to the Backhouse Estate. The woodland attracts many bird species, including the long tailed tit, goldcrest and greater spotted woodpecker.

Cared for by:
Friends of West Bank Park

Things to help with here:
Pruning, planting flowers, general maintenance