Current Projects

What are we up to?

The Friends of Rowntree Park always have a number of projects on the go! Our big focus in 2020 and 2021 are on gardening and improving the Wildlife/Forest School areas.

2021 sees the Centenary of Rowntree Park, so we hope to mark this in a number of ways. We’d love to hear from anyone interested in running or helping with plans.

On Going Project – Gardening overview

The Friends of Rowntree Park are responsible for the maintenance of certain parts of the park’s gardens. York Council are responsible for the rest. The FRP look after the Long Borders (the long path from the lychgate to the Terry Avenue Gates), and the two railed gardens – known as the Friends Garden on the right and the Sensory garden on the left (Facing Terry Avenue after the statue of Mercury). We also care for the Rose Garden/Pergola area near the footprint maze. We also have some responsibilities for of the wildlife pond and the Forest School area.

In 2019 we created a Labyrinth with help from York Bike Belles (on an old bowling green) funded by ‘Growing Green Spaces‘. When there is the capacity and funding – our gardening also extended the rockery outside the clubhouse, and some planting around the lychgate. More detail below…

Current Project – Forest School area and Wildlife Pond

Our story circle in the woods was added a couple of years back and is a key area used by our children’s groups. We’d like to expand and improve our ‘Forest School’ area and also the wildlife Pond.

Plans include:

  • Improving the wildlife pond (may be moving to a new location that is more suitable)
  • improving the walkways and bridges around the beck
  • A Forest School shelter
  • More fruit trees/bushes and wildflowers near the current pond
Rowntree Park Story Circle

We won the support of York Cares ‘Big Community Challenge’ due to start in June 2020, but COVID has put plans on hold.

Current Project – Sensory/pollinator garden

The Sensory garden project started in 2019 with some starter funding from Growing Green Spaces (York Council). The focus was to be on a range of plants that engage the senses.   One quadrant was planted in 2019, and the aim was to do a second in 2020 using our own funding. We have successfully been awarded a grant from ‘Betty’s Trees for life‘ fund to continue to develop the area with a focus on native plants and pollinators. As well as plants and trees, we will also be working with local children’s groups to involve them in pollinator projects. We want to encourage bees and butterflies and get our Young Friends to create some more insect hotels.

Current Project -Rowntree Park Rainbows

From April-June 2020 our craft group instigated a COVID ‘lockdown project’. ‘Rowntree Park Rainbows’ will go on display in July 2020. Crafters have created rainbows or block colour to build a large rainbow. The yarnbombing will take over the tennis court/rose pergola area of the park. The rainbows are a big colourful thank you to all NHS staff, key workers and all who have supported one another through ‘lockdown’. Hippystitch have worked with us on the project.

Current Project -Tree Trails

June 2020 sees the launch of our new Tree Trails. Planned by some of our Young Friends and illustrated by local artists, we have a children’s trail and adults trail. The maps highlight suitable routes for prams/wheelchairs. The tree trail is available to buy for just £1. Thank you to Ellie at Nutkin Avenue and Sarah at Studio_32 for their help.

On Going Gardening Projects

Long borders

The aim here is to have a range of perennial plants that will grow year after year. The Long borders bring colour to the park. We aim to introduce more lupins to the long borders. Lupins are very much part of parks history. George Russell who pioneered types of lupins was originally from the Southbank area of York. His flowers became famous worldwide and the park used to have a range of Russell Lupins. We aim to have this again.

The Friends Garden

This garden is aimed at those who want to picnic and play in a safe railed space that is goose free. The raised beds are filled with annuals to bring colour to the area.  The planting is being redesigned for the purpose we find the garden is used. We know children play here and like to hide amongst the bushes, so we are making sure the area is filled with ornamental grasses and shrubs rather than pollinators or spikey plants. We have bird feeders in here too which volunteers maintain.

The Lodge Garden

Our big project for 2020 onward includes setting up our own Propagating Garden.  We need to make the park sustainable. There isn’t much funding available for new plants, so we intend to grow our own. If we have a surplus, we can sell to raise funds too.  The Lodge Garden is the space behind the cafe. It is enclosed from the general public. We welcome volunteers interested in propagating for the park!

Re wilding the woods

In Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020 we were planting wildflower bulbs in the woodland areas. The aim is to reintroduce more native wildlife plants such as snowdrops and bluebells.

Basketball courts

In October 2019 we managed to raise money to start improvements to the basketball courts.  Through a crowdfunding campaign and a donation from Basketball England, we have added new backboards and rims.  We hope to raise money to paint the courts and add benches and bins.

Other recent projects…

  • Play Park improvements
  • Railings
  • Duck Houses
  • Labyrinth

Do you have an idea for a project, or would you like to help with one?