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. We also run community events and activities.

2021 sees the Centenary of Rowntree Park, so we hope to mark this in a number of ways.

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 two railed gardens – known as the Friends Garden the Sensory Garden
-The Rose Memorial Garden/Pergola area near the footprint maze
Pollinator Project – new for 2020. This is the area at the Terry Avenue gates. Read more here.

We also have some responsibilities for of the wildlife pond and the Forest School area (story circle/football field area on map). In addition, we have started to propagate our own plans in the Lodge Garden.

When there is the capacity and funding – our gardening also extended the rockery outside the clubhouse, and some planting around the lychgate.

You can read more about gardening areas and our plans/aims here.

Current Projects – Mental Health and Wellbeing programmes

We have a range of programs and activities that are aimed at boosting mental health and wellbeing. These include:
Volunteer gardening sessions (including some small group sessions on Fridays). You can sign up here.
Nature Walks – you can register interest in these by signing up here.
York Mind – we are hosting a range of sessions for York Mind including Family Forest School events, Green woodworking (18-25 year olds) and Nature crafts (adults). You can find out more about this program and book your free places here.

In addition we have art in the park, Words from a bench and lots of community activities happening in the park that help boost all our mental health and wellbeing!

Current Project – Words from a Bench

In April 2021 we added a range of stories and poems to the park. These were written by the community and we have benches around the park with signs up. You can scan the QR code with your phone camera to access a poem or a story. The aim is you enjoy reading as you use the park. We are adding a second batch in July 2021.

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
    Improving habitats for wildlife in the beck area and wild area
  • A Forest School shelter/educational area
  • More fruit trees/bushes and wildflowers near the current pond

In late 2020 we were pleased to receive some funding from Yorkshire Water to help our 3- year project to create our wildlife area at the back of Butcher Terrace Field and improve the beck area. We will need volunteers to help us with this work starting in 2021.

Rowntree Park Story Circle

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

We hope we will still be able to acquire some extra funding and volunteers to help us create the new wildlife area. We will do a section at a time over the next few years. We also welcome help from community groups, organisations and other charities who’d like to volunteer.

Current Project – Pollinator Project

We have successfully been awarded a grant from ‘Betty’s Trees for life‘ fund to create a ‘Pollinator Project’. We have chosen the Terry Avenue gates (an entrance to the park) as the location of this project. We will be working to develop an area with 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 other beasties!

Current Project -Park Lodge Plans

As you may (or may not) be aware – the Park Keepers Lodge above the cafe has been vacant since Summer 2017 when the park keeper was made redundant due to council budget cuts. The council plans for a holiday flat were rejected following opposition, and we have been working on a proposal for a community-based hub since that time.

It took longer than we’d hoped, for a variety of good reasons, but we have made a proposal to the council, and are awaiting their thoughts.  You can see a summary of the proposal here

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.

Previous Projects

Rowntree Park Rainbows

From April-June 2020 our craft group instigated a COVID ‘lockdown project’. ‘Rowntree Park Rainbows’ which ran as a display in the park from July- August 2020. Crafters have created rainbow mobiles and one huge rainbow hung from the tennis courts, with a rainbow bench in front!

The rainbows were a big colourful thank you to all NHS staff, key workers and all who have supported one another through ‘lockdown’. Hippystitch worked with us on the project. Rainbows have always been a symbol of hope, and we hope people enjoyed this installation.

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.


In 2019 we created a Labyrinth with help from York Bike Belles (on an old bowling green) funded by ‘Growing Green Spaces‘. The future of the labyrinth is temporarily under review as it was accidentally mowed by CYC in September 2020!

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?