Scarecrow Trail Weekend

The Friends of Rowntree Park hosted our first ‘Scarecrow Trail’ over the weekend of the 7th and 8th of July 2018, and what a fabulous weekend it was!  The theme was ‘children’s stories’ and the trail took people around the streets neighbouring the park.  The local community produced some wonderful, inventive and awe-inspiring offerings.  To name but a few, we had; Room on the Broom, Meg, Mog and Owl, Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter, The Iron Giant, Miffy, Mr Big, George’s Marvellous Medicine, Willy Wonka, Gangster Granny, The Boy in the Dress, Snail and the Whale, the Scarecrows Wedding and so many more!


We had 35 houses involved and this included the main trail and a ‘little legs’ trail for smaller children.  At each house, the scarecrow had a question to be answered. Then those completing the trail sheet voted for their favourite scarecrow and got a sticker!

In the park, we had some stalls and children’s activities which included water play, perfect for very hot toddlers!  Two winners were drawn at random for prizes that included vouchers for the Reading Cafe in Rowntree Park.  We also had a prize for guess the name of the scarecrow.

Overall we had a fabulous weekend and we have heard people plotting what scarecrow they’d make if we were to do it again next year.  We have raised just under £500 and this money will go towards our current projects which include more signage/notices for the park with regard to flowers and wildlife and improvements to the wildlife pond.

A huge thanks to everyone who took part, helped and came along and did the trail.





Music in Rowntree Park!

We are excited to announce that 2018 has been the year that we have brought music back to Rowntree park!  With regular performances happening through the Spring and summer. Come down, bring a picnic, sit back and enjoy the music!

Music was such an important part of Rowntree Park when it first opened.  The original bandstand was located by the lynchgate until 1929,  and then later moved to south side of the park.  The bandstand was repaired in 1953 but by 1969 was showing major signs of damage, and further flooding in the 1980s and early 1990s led to the decision for it to be demolished.  Following the Lottery Grant funding from 1998, the current outdoor stage space was created near the Cameron Grove gates to the park.

The music we have planned may have no bandstand to perform in, but they will make the most of various locations across the park.  Through May, June and July we have been joined on some Saturday mornings by children from York Music Centre.  Groups such as the String group, Big Band and Folkestra have been performing in the area just underneath the cafe.  These performances will continue on Saturday mornings until the end of the term in Mid July.


We have recently managed to recruit Caroline as our volunteer music coordinator and she has set about organising for a range of diverse musicians to perform in the park.  There are still more to be confirmed, but our current timetable is below.  We hope you agree that music in the park is a fantastic addition.   Please follow us on Facebook for up to date details on events. All performances are weather dependent.

10th June 2-3pm – The Rich Hardcastle Band

23rd June 12-5pm – York College Music Showcase*

24th June 12-1.30pm – White Sail

24th June 2-4pm –  Sax Forte

21st July 2-3pm – Track29

22nd July 2pm – The Big Sing*

*York College event and the Big Sing are independent of the Friends of Rowntree Park, please contact the relevant companies for further details on these events. The ‘Big Sing’ is a free event organised by York Arts Education, but please book tickets here.

If you’d like to find out more about music in the park, please contact

The Nature Ninja’s return!

After a first successful half term, the Nature Ninja’s are leaping into action for another half term!    This after-school club for primary aged children 4-9 (ish) will be running bi-weekly sessions on Thursdays 4pm-5pm In Rowntree Park.


Activities and adventures to engage and excite that will include a mix of science, engineering, art and crafts and much more!  A focus on the natural world around us and the local community, teamwork, problem-solving and most importantly, lots of fun!  We meet at our clubhouse under the cafe.

There is a limit of 10 places available for the ‘Nature Ninjas’. The sessions are run by volunteers and children remain the responsibility of their parents throughout the session.  We aim to create sessions where the children and grown ups can get involved in activities together.

Each session is only £2 per child for Friends of Rowntree Park (a total of £8 for the half- term) and £3 a session to non-members (£12 for the half term).  However, it works out better, in the long run, to become a Friend of Rowntree Park member for just £5 a year per household. See link below.

The dates of the sessions are June 7th, June 21st, July 5th and July 19th.

Take a look at our recent blog post to see some of the fun activities we’ve been up to this half term!

Nature Ninjas Members Click to buy 8.00
Nature Ninjas Non Members Click to buy 12.00

To join Friends of Rowntree Park it is only £5 per household.  The money goes back into maintaining the park (lots of gardening!) and running events for the community.  You also get 10% off at the cafe, monthly newsletters and free/discount/priority booking for events. You can pay by cash/bank transfer or PayPal.

Contact for further details.


Tea and spiced apple cake; rewards after gardening!

Image may contain: one or more people, grass, outdoor and nature

10 volunteers came to help plant hundreds of daffodil bulbs this morning, and were rewarded with home-made cake, as well as our normal tea/coffee. I was asked for the recipe for my mum’s spiced apple cake, so here it is (below).

Meanwhile, many thanks to all the hard working volunteer gardeners!

Spiced apple cake

  • 4oz butter/marg
  • 7oz sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 7oz self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of unsweetened apple puree (if home made, then make sure it is reasonably smooth and not too wet)

Cream together butter and sugar, blend in flour and eggs, and then all the other ingredients.

Bake in a greased, bottom-lined  tin, for 60-70 mins, at 350F, 180C or gas mark 4

Top with lemon icing.

AGM 2017

Our AGM is on October 19th at 7pm, at the Reading Café in the Park. We’ll be discussing our progress this year, and thinking about next year’s activities and ideas.

Don’t forget, our annual round news is published as A Year in the Park

All are welcome to attend the AGM (not just members), so do come and join us. Please arrive between 6.50 and 7pm, at the Richardson St entrance (the other entrances will already be locked). If you are running late, please ring the café on: 551489 and we’ll come and let you in.

International Picnic (with gardening, obviously!)

FRP_YUMI_International Picnic Flyer

We’re delighted to announce that our first event with YUMI is an International Picnic, on July 16th, from 11am to 2pm. Share international food, learn origami, plant up herb planters for the Cafe and get information about FRP and YUMI activities. Do bring a picnic and join in! Suitable for all ages.

You can also follow our new Children’s Trail (leaflet at Cafe, or at the Picnic, suggested donation £1), by artist Gerard Hobson and check out the Brilliant Birds yarnstorming installation.

Information about this, and our other activities, is on our latest newsletter. And it’s always worth following us on Facebook and Twitter.

You might be interested in this Learn to French Dance, which is on at the Park, at 3pm on the same day.

Playground consultation

The Young Friends would like to know what local people think about the playground in the Park. Give us your ideas! There is an online form here: