Young wordsmiths sought!

Would you like to see your story on a bench in Rowntree Park? Writers in the park is holding a competition.

Now the writing project is open to under-18s too! If you are interested, please see the instructions for more information.felix's owl

Opening up Words from a Bench

Jane McWeeny 2009


Our Words from a Bench project has been very successful, with four editions over the first year, with contributions from a total of 19 writers from one York-based writers group in the UK and a partner group of writers in Iceland. Now we’d like to open up the project to all writers, from anywhere in the world, although the theme ‘Crossed Paths’ is still concerned with the experience of parks and open spaces. Your piece must be less than 1000 words. Ten pieces will be chosen for publication on the website, and we hope to be able to present these as audio as well. These same ten pieces will be found dotted about on the park benches of Rowntree Park and Hljómskálagarður Park in Reykjavik. Karen Green, the editor for the project, has prepared guidelines for contributors. The deadline for contributions is the 15th November 2014. Good luck!

Your thoughts for the AGM

dancing red leaves 3Autumn is the time of AGMs, and the Friends of Rowntree Park have theirs this evening. We are a community group that works to benefit the park and its users, so we’re always looking for new ideas of how we could do this. If you are a visitor to Rowntree Park, do you have any ideas for projects or activities that would benefit the park and its users?

We appealed for ideas on our Facebook page, and by our email list, and received these ideas:

  • 5k or 10k race
  • Something that links Rowntree Park with the other parks in York
  • outdoor gym equipment like this or this
  • play equipment for the over 8s
  • art projects for adults
  • all-day brass band festival
  • do something about the geese

We’d be glad to hear about your thoughts on these, or your other ideas, so why not come to the AGM (7pm at the Reading Cafe, for details see October newsletter), or post your comments here.



Happy 93rd Birthday, Rowntree Park

The 93rd Rowntree Park Birthday Party was a fantastic success! The first time for many years that it was community-led (with assistance from Jenny Cairns, CYC). These pictures, from Graham Smith, tell the story better than any words. Thanks to everyone who helped before, during and after the event, and thanks to everyone who came to enjoy a wonderful day out in the park.cut cakechelele 2harpistminature trainlambkinsowlvery young friends artboy with snake


The Birthday Party is nearly here!

Birthday Party poster June 2014Rowntree Park will be all dressed up on Sunday 20th July, to celebrate its 93rd birthday. The party will start at 1.00 and go on until 4.00. All are cordially invited to attend. There is no charge for admission.

For the first time the party is being organised by the local community. There will be all sorts of entertainment including owl displays, bouncy castle, a model boat regatta, small gauge railway and a basketball demonstration from the York Tornados  . For the more energetic there’s skateboarding, tennis, climbing wall, pitch and putt – even a relaxing game of croquet. At the heart of the party will be over 30 community stalls, run by local organisations active in the area, not forgetting food stalls selling home made  produce. As with any decent party, there’s a special cake for the occasion, to be cut by the Friends of Rowntree Park.  There will be live music and a special jiving display running throughout the afternoon.

The park itself has a special relevance on the centenary of the outbreak WW1 – It was donated by the Rowntree company as a gift to the City of York on July 16th 1921 in memory of its workers who fell in the conflict. There has been a party every year since to commemorate the event.

Sue Scott, chair of the organisation team, said ‘‘As members of the local community, we were pleased to be able to keep the tradition of the Rowntree Park birthday party. There will be attractions for all ages and we hope it is a great opportunity for residents and visitors to celebrate this beautiful park.’

Parking is limited to disabled badge holders only, so other visitors are asked to walk or take public transport. Please note the car park will be closed all day to allow time to set up the event.

Latest writing, from both York and Iceland

Spring is such a beautiful time of the year in the Park. We’re delighted to see all the new green leaves, the fresh blooms and the tiny ducklings, frantically paddling to keep up with mum.  This year, we’re also thrilled to welcome new pieces of writing from writers based in York, and in Iceland (where we got the original idea of linking the park benches with poems and prose about the park).

The 16 new pieces are all themed under ‘Spring Fever’  but they range very widely, in style, tone and location; we hope you enjoy reading them.

Eliza's spring pics

Spring in the Park, Eliza Green







News about the Tour de France

The Friends were lucky enough to have a City of York representative, Liz Topi, at the most recent Friends’ meeting, and she summarised what was known so far, as far as the Tour de France is concerned.

The Park will be one of 3 ‘hubs’ for activities on the day (6th July), including a big screen showing the Grand Depart in the morning and probably something like a family-friendly sing-along film in the afternoon. Local charities will be offered space for stalls, and there will be food offerings. There will be no alcohol licence in the park. There will be a site manager for the Park, and a health and safety manager.

Outside the park itself, camping pitches will be offered either side of the Millennium Bridge (booked and supervised by the Caravan Club), although if there are few takers not all the campsites will run. Additional toilets etc will be provided for campers (available to the public as well).

Liz could not be more specific about some aspects, because no-one could know how things would go. It is thought there will between 80,000 and 180,000 extra people in York that weekend. Roads will be closed from 3am Sunday, until about midday and then Bishopthorpe Road traders intend to close the road for a street party from midday. All 4 road bridges within the ring road will be closed. All leave has been cancelled for emergency services, with 1000s of volunteers being trained as helpers, by Asda.

There is an additional open meeting on April 10th 5.30pm at the Park Café, to allow further discussion of the Tour de France plans.


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