HabitatAmenity Grassland, Flowers for Pollinators, Mixed Woodland, Orchards, Park, Pond, Wildflower Meadow
ActivitiesCycling, Dog Friendly, Football, Playground, Walking, Wheelchair Accessible
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.
You can support the work of the Friends of Rowntree Park volunteers by becoming a member for just £5 a year! www.rowntreepark.org.uk/membership We also always welcome volunteers, members or people who want to run events in the park that fit with our charity aims.