We don’t have much information about sport in Rowntree Park in our archives, so would love to hear more from people with stories, information and/or images to share.
Joseph Rowntree originally wanted outdoor activities in Rowntree Park to improve health by exercise but sport that could be watched in seats. It was originally planned to have Hockey at north and cricket at the south. Football was deemed unsuitable. These original plans did change and tennis courts and bowling greens were added to the park.
In 1957 the Tennis Club was formed and in the 1970s the brick pavilion was built. The pavilion is still there today (near the Terry Avenue side of the park/skatepark) but isn’t used as the council declared it unsafe for use but can be used for storage. It suffers when the park floods. This is where the courts were located and some are still there today (the ones near the caf added more recently). Popular tennis tournaments like the Terry’s All Gold cup took place at the park. The tennis courts management transferred from the council to York Tennis Club in 2015, originally for a trial year, and this was extended and is still in place.
The park also had two bowling greens that were popular over the years. However, once again flooding and council budget cuts have meant that the bowling greens could no longer be maintained due to costs of repairs and maintenance. They were last relaid in 2010. Also with no longer a place for bowlers to get changed with the pavilion out of use, it limited the use of the greens for bowling.
In 2019 York Bike Belles and Friends of Rowntree park added a labyrinth to one of the disused bowling greens. Sadly it has suffered flood damage in early 2020 but has bounced back well over the summer and may be restored.