Found when digging the pond

We knew that the wildlife pond was going into an area of the park that had been used as a dump. After about 20cm of top soil, we were into a layer of dumped domestic debris – bottles, jars, bits of twisted metal, part of a doll’s face, even a chunk of hymn book. Most of this is clearly of 20th century date, and we’re hoping that local people will be able to tell us their memories of some of the evocative-sounding brands.


A lot of the debris were glass bottles and jars, many of which were at least complete enough to see what they had been used for. The brands discovered are from local firms from York, Selby and Hull, as well as more well-known firms such as Heinz.

some of the finds

New wildlife pond created

On Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th November 2011, we created a new wildlife pond in Butcher Terrace Field. Rachel Simpson (the Park Ranger) had spent hours finding all the resources that we’d need, and discussing utilities, diggers and other matters with all and sundry, and the Friends had got the funding from the York Community Pride Challenge Fund (administered by the Two Ridings Community Foundation).

Richard the digger driver quickly created a big hole.

Richard, his digger and the big hole in the ground

He also shaped the bank which the tansy plants are going to be planted, so that tansy beetles have a suitable potential home.

The following day, a group of Aviva workers came on a team-building day out, and helped us shape the pond, line it with carpet and underlay, and then the pond liner itself. It was tiring work, especially for people who are normally indoors all day, but the group were very cheerful and hardworking throughout.

The end result we hope will delight both wildlife and humans …

Beautiful trees

The autumn leaf colours have been fabulous over the last couple of weeks, but several trees have also needed attention from the tree surgeons, to make them safe. The most noticeable was the large horse chestnut near the tennis courts, after a large branch fell onto the tennis courts during high winds. This tree has now been reduced down to a tall stump, with the hope that this will re-sprout, and so not need complete removal. However, this is one of the bigger, more mature trees, many of which are suffering from various diseases, and so we can only hope for the best! Many thanks to the tree surgeons who left a pile of wood chips for use in the wildlife area.

New pond news

The Friends received a £2000 grant from the York Community Pride Challenge Fun, adminstered by Two Ridings Community Foundation, to make a pond, as part of our work to enhance the wildlife potential of the park (including making space for tansy beetles). We’re working hard with the Park Rangers and other council staff to make our plans and more information will appear here soon. We hope to break ground in November 2011, probably 23rd/24th, and will need lots of help to get the work done!

Equipment repair

John Barnes-Tee sent us this list of repairs that he’s done:

  • The steps to the small embankment slide have been repaired.
  • The round about bearings are worn but we have the supplier booked in to re-fit new bearings.
  • Various nets on the large Multi play unit are due to be replaced with new ones from play dale.
  • We are still looking into a suitable replacement for the All ability swing for the red swing frame.
  • We are also getting some quotes to improve the wooden surrounds for the wood chip bays.

And finally we are looking at the four way waltzer and  because of its age and the expense of the parts whether it is worth the repair.

There is still no definite news about the cascade, canal and fountains being repaired

Welcome to the Friends of Rowntree Park’s blog

The first post to try out this blog is about our wonderful NEW BOOK!

Terry Avenue gates, with view of traditional bedding scheme

Stories, memories and copious photos about the history of Rowntree Park, from the beginnings right up to the current day. Written by Chris and John Dowell, based on their research, and on interviews with many park-users. Available at the Pig and Pastry (Bishopthorpe Road) or from Naomi Whittaker, 104 Bishopthorpe Road, York YO23 1JX (635278)

£12 per copy. Only £10 per copy for members of Friends of Rowntree Park (via Naomi only) – yet another good reason to join the Friends! (£2 postage and package, if required)