On Air Now

Now Playing

Paloma Faith

New York

Newsletter - The Friends of Rowntree Park

Monday, 13 March 2023 16:21

By Barbara Constable

Spring has sprung in Rowntree park! Signs of spring are popping up all over the park, and we are so happy to see them! Read on to find out about events and activities coming up, tree planting, programme of girls events (and being involved in a national conference) and more!

Spring has sprung in Rowntree park!

Signs of spring are popping up all over the park, and we are so happy to see them! Read on to find out about events and activities coming up, tree planting, programme of girls events (and being involved in a national conference) and more! 



The Rowntree Park 'Legendary' Easter Trail is back!

Join us on Thursday 6th of April for Easter fun in the park. Search the park for clues to help the Easter Bunny find her missing pal and earn a reward for all your help. Children will collect a trail sheet to find hidden clues around the park to help solve the missing bunny mystery. Once solved, they can return to find the bunny and receive a small reward for all their hard work.

This has always been a popular event as a lovely way to have fun together with family and friends exploring nature. Bring a picnic and make a full day of it!

In order to cut any queuing for sheet time - we are advising people book in advance. Start times are 10am, 10.45am, and 11.30am.  You book a time slot and head to the 'pre booked' table for the collection of the sheet. We will also accept 'drop in's on the day via the other queue. Trail sheets can be returned any time up to 1pm to receive a prize. Only £2.50 per child. Book here.


General updates

  • Tree Planting - we have some new trees going into the park. These trees are being planted by the Environment Agency and was agreed as part of the flood defence programme in Clementhorpe (some trees were removed in the local area, sop the EA and replanting and adding a few more). All the species being planted are native and flood resilient - think birch, beech, hazel and willow.  Our Forest Schoolers had a lovely time talking to the group planting and finding out lots about the trees. 
  • Wildlife Area - our small group of volunteers meet some weekends and have been busy recently pruning apple trees, clearing the bog garden, and planting willow. If you'd like to get involved with this group - get in touch (hello@rowntreepark.org.uk). You can come along when you are able and make a difference! They are very excited to see if the new pond will be popular with frogs this spring! 
  • Gardening - our gardening volunteers are meeting again regularly. we welcome new volunteers to come along to the Monday, Thursday and Friday morning sessions. register interest here
  • Wassail - Thank you to all who came, we can't believe how popular it was, and so much fun! Photos in this newsletter and more on Facebook.
  • Goose update - Our newly formed goose team and working on ways to try and encourage less geese to make the park their home. Less geese means less poo.  A gentle reminder to please not feed the geese. We have opened up the option to volunteer to join the goose volunteers on our volunteer registration form.  If interested in volunteering, register here
  • Craft Group - Our knitting/crochet craft group who met on Monday afternoons at the park cafe won't be meeting regularly from now on. If there is anyone who would like to volunteer to lead (or co-lead) a regular group who meet as a social craft event, do get in touch. Currently we lack a lead (or leads) who are able to commit the time to meet regularly.  
  • Tote bags - If you want one of our amazing new design Tote bags, you can now pick them up at he cafe (and stick the £5 in the honesty tin).
  • Adult whittling workshops- These have been proving popular! The March date is now sold out, but we are looking at adding more similar sessions and also adult forest school - keep an eye out!
  • Monthly Neurodiverse Family Forest School  -  These small group outdoor sessions will start later in Spring and are aimed at families experiencing neurodivergent conditions such as autism, ADHD and anxiety (diagnosed or otherwise).  If you'd like to find out more/be the first to know when sessions are advertised - contact Christine at ediucation@rowntreepark.org.uk
Forest School visiting the tree contractors to find out more about the new trees, the digger, and asking lots of questions! 

'Make Space for Us' June programme of events - can you help?

We started our  'Make Space for Us' project in autumn 2021 and it's on going -  looking at older girls and Rowntree Park and how to encourage them to use it more, and see it as a space for them. Research shows that after the age of 10, girls use public parks less than they did, and less than boys.   We are organising a  programme of events aimed at older girls (approx 10-18) throughout June and we are looking for individuals, groups and organisations interested in running a one off session,  or set of sessions. This can be anything ranging from exercise, dance, defence, skating, volleyball, arts - whatever could work outside in the park. The aim is to raise awareness of of the project, get girls into the park and trying new things.   We are also looking for anyone interested in helping organise this programme of events. You can read more here - please spread the word! Contact abigail at hello@rowntreepark.org.uk - happy to chat and bounce ideas, as this is my passion project! 

Linked to our work on older girls, I (abigail) will be speaking at a national conference in May with a focus on the safety of women and girls in parks. The conference and case studies are feeding into new guidance to help improve parks in the UK.  You can read a brief summary of our project here (and more on our website  blog).

Branching Out - workshop focused on creating the story of trees and our connection with them

This exciting project being led by a range of groups (below) looks at science and stories to understand the cultural values of trees. Last Autumn, a tree story telling workshop was held in Rowntree Park - folktales linked to trees. The next step of the project  is 'Stories from the Present’ - storytelling workshops, in which members of the public create their own tree-related stories. We'd love to hear from people interested in being involved in this project. There will be two in-person workshops and two online sessions between 18 March and 12 April.
Who is behind the project - Loughborough University, Forest Research, The Open University, University of York and EcoLogos.  The project focuses on three cities, including York.  Register your interest in being involved in this exciting project by contacting hello@rowntreepark.org.uk and we will send on more details when we have them. 

New Membership options

Thank you to the members who have opted to upgrade to one of the new membership options. Just a reminder - we haven't raised the basic membership fee BUT have added additional options for those who want/are able to contribute more.
In additional to basic membership (£5) - we now also have Bronze (£10), Silver (£20), Gold (£30) and Platinum (£50) memberships. To 'upgrade' contact Abigail at hello@rowntreepark.org.uk - You can do this at any point of the year.
Wassail event- traditional celebration to wake apple trees from their winter slumber and bring forth a good harvest. We did a children's craft session making nature headdresses and noise makers, then led a parade to the orchard where we made noise and 'toasted' the trees with Wassail drink! 

Events and Activities in Rowntree Park 

The Friends of Rowntree Park run a range of events and activities for the community. We also welcome outside providers who would like to book events in the park.  You can find out more information on our website under 'Events' and and book here.
What's coming up...

Family Forest School - Saturday 11th of March
Our monthly Saturday Forest School for Families takes place 10-11.30am - Only £7.50 per child.  Next session 2nd of April and open for booking now. 

Spring Equinox Event - Wednesday 21st of March
A nature craft and mindful event aimed at adults, focused on welcoming and celebrating the start of spring. Nature crafts, chat and a relaxed time! 

Branching Out - workshops
See the rest of the newsletter for more info. If you'd like to be involved in these workshops, then do get in touch and we will pass on more information when we have it. Hello@rowntreepark.org.uk

The Very Young Friends of Rowntree Park - Wednesday 5th of April
The monthly meet-up for 1-5 year olds and their parents/carers - 10am-11am. Nature crafts and storytelling at the woodland story circle. Places must be booked in advance - £2 per child for members (parent/carer goes free). 

Easter Eggstravaganza -Thursday 6th of April
Book your places for our popular Easter hunt. Start times are 10am, 10.45 and 11.30.  Only £2.50 per child for members.

Wild Ones - Starts Wednesday 19th of April
A new block of our girls group aimed at ages 10-16 starts on April 19th and runs for 6 weeks. A bit like an 'outdoor nature youth club',  Wild Ones offers a mix of conservation action, bushcraft skills and outdoor activities to promote and build girls confidence, resilience and wellbeing. This is an opportunity for girls to learn new skills and meet new people in a friendly atmosphere. Activities will include a range of things such as lighting fires, using woodworking tools and exploring nature in a safe, natural space. Also a chance to chat and just 'be'. Sessions are 6-7.30pm. 

Nature Time - starts Friday 21st of April
Our new block of our outdoor playgroup for babies and toddlers. These sessions are as much as about the parents as the children - a safe relaxed friendly space to just 'be'!  These sessions are partly grant funded and only £12 for 5 weeks. There are also fully funded spaces available.

Spring Weaving Workshops - starts Wednesday 26th of April
Over the course of 4 weeks(10-11.30am) you'll learn to make various willow items which may include hanging birdfeeders, a bread tray or a fruit basket.. This mindful craft is a lovely way to relax in the outdoors. Led by willow expert, Heather. 

Spring Crafting for adults 
Running February to March - sold out. 

Forest School (2-5 year olds) - Friday's
We are operating a waiting list for Friday Forest school places (age 2-5).  If you'd like to be amongst the first to find out when spaces become available, then get in touch with Christine at education@rowntreepark.org.uk 

Coming soon - Neurodiverse Forest school, Wild Ones (Girls group) and more nature crafts/writing for adults. 

*If coming to an event, do check your emails on the day in case the event is postponed due to park closures.


Events with outside providers:

Tai Chi
Takes place every Saturday and Wednesday morning in Rowntree Park - in the Friends Picnic Garden 9-10.30am.  For more information contact Richard - siwiaks@hotmail.com 

Move the Masses - wellbeing walks
The second Tuesday of each month 1.30-2.30pm, you can join MTM for a free wellbeing walk around Rowntree Park. This is aimed at older or less physically able people who want to get some fresh air and get moving, all with some good, friendly company. Meet under the cafe. For more info contact: libby@movethemasses.org.uk

Music with Cath Smithson
These popular music sessions for children are returning to Rowntree Park - Thursday 10.30-11.15am on March 16th, 23rd, and 30th. Mixed Ages (0-5s). For more info contact cathsmithson@live.com

Would you like to run events in the park? You may want to hire the space and run an event/activity, OR may be you want to run an event in conjunction with the FRP.  More info contact Abigail to find out more - hello@rowntreepark.org.uk


Would you like to be part of the Great British Spring Clean?

The Great British Spring Clean which will run between 17th March and 2nd April 2023. If you are interested in litter picking in Rowntree Park, or your local area, between these dates then you can sign up using the link below. May be you are a group, organisation, or workplace? Why not pop out for an hour or two to help clean up.  Find out more and register interest here (all equipment provided) -  www.york.gov.uk/GBSpringClean

Key information regarding Rowntree Park.

The council manage Rowntree Park. That means they have overall responsibility.  Things like health and safety, toilets, opening/closing etc are down to them. The Friends of Rowntree Park do fund and maintain some areas of Rowntree Park, run a volunteering programme and a range of community events and projects, as well as overseeing bookings for the park. We are the link between the community and the council.  

Please note that the Tennis Club, and York Explore Café and Library are separate from the Friends and they operate their own areas and generate their own income. Please contact them directly if there are any questions about what they do.

Adult whittling workshops - similar sessions aimed at adults will be coming soon!

More from Community News