Forest School Sessions – 2-5 year olds

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

Friday 8th of November to Friday 13th of December 2019 10am-11.30am

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

Fores School Rowntree park 003

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.

Sessions will include: Den building, foraging, campfire cooking, mini-beast hunts, fire lighting, woodland crafts, storytelling and natural paint making and more – all run by  Christine, our Very Young Friends group leader, who has taken her official training to be able to offer these amazing sessions that are exceptional value for money.

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.

The six-week block begins on Friday 8th November and the last session is Friday 13th December.  Each session runs from 10am-11.30am

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 8th of November 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



Rowntree Park History Project


Rowntree Park is so important to many of us, and a great place to spend time together as a family, relax and unwind.  The park has changed many times over the years since it’s opening in 1921.  We are inviting children aged 6-13 (approx) to join us for an interactive History session about the park where we can explore it’s past, present and possibly it’s future.

The session will lead to children starting to plan a way they’d like to share their findings with the public.  This may be a though a piece of art, a story, a poem or making a short film.  Their work will be displayed in the cafe and used on social media (films).

This is a session for children to really get to know their local park and what it has meant to people over time – they can find out about the music that used to happen weekly, the aviary, the swimming pool, the boating lake, the colourful characters that were the park keepers and more!

The session takes place on Sunday 24th of March 10-11.30am in Rowntree Park  Cafe.  The ticket price includes a drink and a pastry for children.  All events are run by volunteers, and children remain the responsibility of their parents/carers.  Abigail who is running this event, and involved in many of our children’s events, is a qualified teacher (history specialism).  Parents can have a relax in the cafe whilst the session is on – a perfect Sunday morning!

History Project Members Ticket -£5 Buy Now
History Project Non-Members ticket – £6.50 Buy Now

Not already a member?  You can join Friends of Rowntree Park for just £5 a year per household.  As well as priority/discount entry to events, you also get 10% off at the cafe for the year, monthly newsletters and the knowledge you are supporting our volunteer work in the park.

Join today!

Any questions regarding the project, please email Abigail at

Tickets are non-refundable, but you are welcome to sell your ticket on – but please let us know who it goes to so we can get in contact.

*Pictures courtesy of ‘Ruby Florence Lea’ and York Press archives.


The Dawn Chorus – Bird and Breakfast Event

Join us to hear the dawn chorus in Rowntree Park on Saturday 6th of April 6am-7.30am.


We are running a one-off special event to hear the sounds of the day starting.  We will watch and listen to birds, there will be some additional activities for children,  a stove to keep us warm and we will be cooking breakfast over the fire. A perfect start to a Spring day!

Bring a chair and a blanket and we (and nature) will do the rest!

The event is open to all ages and there are discount tickets for Friends of Rowntree Park members.  Single people, friends, families – all welcome! Bring your own binoculars or borrow some of ours.

We will meet at the Cameron Grove Gate entrance to the park at 6am.  Tickets must be booked in advance via the links below.

Members single Ticket -£4 SOLD OUT
Members Family Ticket – £14 SOLD OUT
Non -Members single Ticket -£5 SOLD OUT
Non-Members Family Ticket – £16 SOLD OUT

*Family ticket is 2 adults and 2 children under 18 or 1 adult and 3 children

Once you have paid you will receive an instant confirmation from Paypal and within a week a confirmation from us. Tickets are non-refundable but if you resell your ticket, please provide details to us.

Breakfast includes a bacon or sausage sandwich and a hot drink – cooked outdoors!  Vegetarian options are available and other allergies/intolerances may be accounted for – but please email before purchasing a ticket.

All events are run by volunteers (with appropriate training and skills)  and any profit made from our events goes back into the maintenance and improvements in the park.

Please email for further details.


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.