Meetings cancelled/postponed

We hope you are all enjoying the park, during this period of uncertainty; it’s a blessing that we can get back into it. As the Friends cannot organise any gatherings for the foreseeable future, we will not be meeting this Thursday.  The next meeting after that is scheduled for June 25th, so we await the government’s announcements to see whether that happens. Meanwhile, the Friends are keeping an eye on the park (during our socially-distanced walks); it’s great to see spring is springing, and that the temporary barriers in the playpark, locked-up skatepark etc are being respected. Wishing you all good health.

Lantern Making Workshop

POSTPONED – New date to be announced when the flood water is cleared from the park
Join the Friends of Rowntree Park for a lantern-making workshop on Saturday 29th of February from 10am. This event is aimed at children of all ages.
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The session is linked to the St Leonard’s Lights on the Lake evening on March 5th (more details on the event below).   You are welcome to be involved if you are not attending the evening and make a lantern to take home.
Places MUST be pre-booked. There are 3 start times so we can stagger people. The session will last around an hour – 10am, 10.45am, 11.30am
Children of all ages are welcome, though little ones will need a lot more help and support from parents/guardians.
The cost of the session is £2 per child for members and £3 per child for non-members. You can buy tickets here:
Member Ticket Non Member Ticket
We will be based around the cafe and clubhouse – some parts of the making may be outside. Please dress for weather and mess (glue involved!)
There will also be volunteers from St Leonard’s present for anyone who wants to write a dedication note for a lost loved. These will be on the lilies launched on the lake on the evening of March 5th. You can find out more about the suggested donation on the St Leonard’s website.
All proceeds go to charity.  There are no refunds for tickets if you cannot attend, but you are welcome to resell and pass on the names of the buyer. This event is run by volunteers and children remain the responsibility of parents/guardians at all times.
St Leonard’s Lights on the Lake 
Thursday 5th March 6.30pm

Light up the lake at Rowntree Park this spring with candles and lanterns, each one representing someone special in your life. As the sun sets hundreds of candles will be set adrift on the lake and illuminated lanterns will light the way.

To dedicate a candle or lantern, please complete the online booking form on th St Leonard’s website and make a donation. Your donation will support the work of St Leonard’s and help them to continue to provide care to those in our community who are facing a life-limiting illness. We hope you are able to join us all at this very special event.

Meet at the main entrance on Terry Avenue at 6:30pm and everyone will make their way through the lanterns together on the way to the lake.
Read more on th S Leonard’s Website

Green Woodworking Sessions

 We are offering ‘Green Woodworking’ sessions for  Home Educated children.

Starting on Thursday 27th February 2020
1pm – 2.15 (running for 6 weeks)
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What is Green Woodworking?
Green woodworking is a form of woodcraft that works unseasoned or “green” timber into finished items using handtools. It’s a lovely chance to work with the natural materials that we find in the park and York’s open spaces.
What will we do?
The group will be introduced to tools such as knives, hand drills, billhooks and hammers, and then work on a series of mini-projects using materials from local woodland. There will also be an opportunity to work on their own projects.
Who is this for?

Aimed are ideally aimed at age 8+ but we may be able to accommodate those slightly younger – ask us and we will chat. Email

There is a limit on numbers and only a maximum of 12 can be in the group. All sessions run by Christine, our fully trained volunteer Forest School practitioner.
The costs cover resources and any extra goes back into the volunteers work in maintaining and improving Rowntree Park – we are a registered charity.   £42 for the block for members (£7 a session) and £48 for Non-members (£8 a session)
Members Place – £42

(6 sessions)

Non -Members Place – £48

(6 sessions)


We offer a 10% sibling discount on the total price for members.
You can buy sibling ticket following the link below. This ticket is for 2 places at £75 for members instead of £84. 

The sibling ticket is  £90 for Non-Members (or become a member for £5). Email us for this link.

Sibling Ticket (2 places)BUY

If you require a bespoke ticket link for more children, drop us a line:

*we cannot offer refunds for sessions missed. If any session has to be cancelled by us, we will refund the cost of the session.

Forest School Spring Sessions

Booking is now open for our next set of Forest School sessions aimed at 2-5 year olds in Rowntree Park.

Friday 28th of February-  3rd April 2020  10am-11.30am

Places are strictly limited and must be booked in advance – see below

Magical moments being nurtured in nature

It is so important for children, and adults, to spend time outdoors in nature. Forest school is more than just sessions outdoors.  It is a specialised approach that is learner centred and aims to promote the holistic development of the child.  Through hands-on practical learning, Forest school fosters resilience, confidence, self-esteem, independence and creativity and encourages children to take risks within a supportive learning environment set in nature.

We provide the setting and a range of activities and resources.  The sessions are child-led and they can explore what interests them, facilitated by our qualified Forest School Practitioner, Christine.  In our woodland area we have hammocks, slacklines and other similar equipment set up in each session.  Each week will have focus activities such as foraging, campfire cooking, mini-beast hunts, fire lighting, woodland crafts, storytelling, weaving,  and natural paint making and more.

Child-led learning and exploration

Rowntree Park Forest School will be themed around a nature topic but essentially child-led so they will evolve naturally according to individual children’s interests and abilities.  There will be lots of time for free play and exploration of the individual’s interests as well as focused activities.

Time to develop, connect and grow

Forest School’s ethos recommends a range of continuous sessions rather than one-off ad hoc sessions, therefore we are offering a six-week course aimed at preschoolers (2-5 year olds).  Homeschoolers are also welcome.

Due to the nature of the activities, places are strictly limited and must be booked in advance. Parents stay and engage with their children and learning at the sessions – fun, relaxing, mindfulness for all!

Members – £36 Non Members – £42
Forest School 6 week sessions – starting Friday 28th of February BUY BUY

Save money on the sessions AND help your local park?

You can become a member of Friends of Rowntree Park for just £5 a year per household.  For this, you get discounts at our events, monthly newsletters, 10% off in the cafe for the year whilst helping support our volunteer work in maintaining and improving Rowntree Park.  You can join here:

If you would like further details about membership or Forest School sessions, then please get in contact with Abigail at


Big Kids Forest School 2020

 Join us for monthly Saturday Forest school/bushcraft session aimed at children aged 6 and over.   The next available dates are:

Saturday 18th of April 1-2.30pm 

Saturday 16th of May 1-2.30pm 


SPECIAL event for 5-8 -year-olds

We are also running a special session for 5-8 year olds: Saturday 16th May 10.30-11am

Those who have been attending 6-12 Forest School can opt into their usual afternoon group OR choose to be with children their own age. Those with siblings can opt into whichever group works best (don’t need to split up). 


We started running these sessions in September 2019 and they have proved very popular.  The sessions have continued to run each month and tend to sell out.  The sessions will get children outdoors and engaging with nature. Sessions will include a mix of:

  • Fire lighting and campfire cooking
  • Bushcrafts – using tools, knives, drills and saws to create
  • Nature based arts and crafts

Each session will have a particular focus.  You are welcome to attend a session as a one-off or come as often as you’d like.

All sessions include hot chocolate and marshmallows (or suitable alternatives) that the children will make on the open fire or using the Kelly Kettle.

The sessions will take a Forest School approach – Forest school is more than just sessions outdoors. It is a specialised approach that is learner-centred and aims to promote the holistic development of the child. Through hands-on practical learning, Forest school fosters resilience, confidence, self-esteem, independence and creativity and encourages- children to take risks within a supportive learning environment set within nature.

The sessions are run by our forest school trained volunteer Christine. All very reasonably priced for experiences that are utterly priceless! All profit goes back into our volunteer work in maintaining and improving the park too!

Only  £6 for members and £7 for non-members.

Not a member? You can join for just £5 a year. Not only would you be helping our volunteer work in the park, but you also get a discount to all our events and 10% off in the cafe for the year. Join before booking your place – it comes straight through, so go ahead and buy a members place!

Places are strictly limited, so book your place using the link below:


Members ticket – 18th April 2020 (£6) Buy
Non Members Ticket – 18th April 2020 (£7) Buy


Members ticket 16th May  2020 – 1-2.30pm (£6) Buy
Non Members Ticket 16th May 2020 1-2.30pm (£7) Buy


Special morning event 10.30-12pm

Special – Members ticket

5-6 year olds

16th May 10.30-12pm

Special – Non Members ticket

5-6 year olds

16th May 10.30-12pm



Important info

Tickets are non-refundable, but you are welcome to sell your ticket if you get the buyer to contact us. If we have to cancel the event then all money would be refunded.

There is no physical ticket – Paypal confirms and we will send you an email within a week of payment. Any questions then please email – (abigail at

The sessions are aimed at children 6+ and they should be accompanied by an adult. No adult ticket is needed.   Your child is welcome to come with another adult who has other children at the event.  If you need to bring a younger sibling along, just let us know.  They are welcome to come but will not be able to use the resources.  If you’d like them to use resources then please buy them a ticket. They would need to remain under your strict supervision as we aim our sessions at older children.

We email all those who have booked on around a week before – check your emails, including junk mail!

When Rowntree Park is closed due to floods, we have access to Danesmead Wood which is 5 mins walk from the park (just across Millenium Bridge).


Photograph Competition 2019

A huge thank you to all who entered our Photograph competition that closed at the end of October 2019.  We had a lovely range of images showing different aspects of the park.  All finalists images will go into a display to be hosted in Rowntree Park reading cafe at the start of 2020.

All finalists also get a 12×8 print of their image.  Prints are also available to buy for just £3 – all money raised goes toward our volunteer work in the park.

You can see the images of the finalists below.


The names of the finalists are: Jane Dickins (reflection and lychgate), Barney Sharatt (ducks, mercury’s head, and mercury in shadows) Helen Barlow (squirrel), David Thomas (gates and horse), Victoria Hughes (ballerina and bubble), Sophie Hillier (park cafe, ducks, swan) Theo Hughes age 5 (ladybird on apple).

The overall winning image, chosen by our judges was by  David Thomas of ‘The Horse’ and he will receive a voucher for the cafe.  The runner up was by Barney Sharratt of Mercury in shadow.  A huge thank you to all who entered.  No specific skill or cameras were needed, just a willingness to share your lovely pictures of the park. We love these images.



Our first AGM as a charity took place last month. We were pleased to be able to celebrate lots of successes, and to discuss plans for the year ahead, in a wide-ranging meeting. You can read about some of our work in the Year in the Park document YitP 2019