You are here

Rowntree Park

Rowntree Park is one of York's hidden gems. Its facilities include wide-open green space, an ornamental lake, an exciting children's playground and a cafe.

According to Visit York (the city's official tourist organisation), more than six million people visit York each year, yet very few of them know about, let alone visit this delightful public park.

For some visitors to York, the 'out-of-town' location of this 10 hectare (25 acre) park will significantly reduce its appeal. However, for those prepared to take a one and a half mile round-trip stroll along the riverside (or a short bus / taxi / car ride), the delights of the park will more than compensate for the time and effort expended in getting there. This is especially true for visitors with children as the high quality play area will bring a smile to any young face.

For those with an inquisitive mind and / or an interest in nature, the park's 'Tree Trails' will provide an enjoyable (and, perhaps, educational) interlude during a busy sightseeing visit. (A series of downloadable leaflets is available from York City Council's website - see 'External Links' below.)

The park also boasts a formal garden area, formal lawns, a less formal grass-covered recreation area, tennis courts, bowling greens, a skateboard park, a basketball court, a 'mini-golf' style putting green, an outdoor table-tennis table, an event space, a number of modern sculptures, a small car park and a toilet block. (For up-to-date information regarding the park's facilities, please refer to the York City Council website - see 'External Links' below).

The park as a war memorial

Rowntree Park was gifted to the people of York by Joseph Rowntree in 1921. His intention was to create a permanent, but positive and practical memorial to the Rowntree Cocoa Works employees who died or otherwise suffered during the First World War. The associated memorial plaque (located in the memorial lych gate) reads:

THIS PARK AND THE ADJOINING PLAYING FIELDS
WERE GIVEN TO THE CITY BY ROWNTREE & CO. LTD.
AT THE CLOSE OF THE GREAT WAR (1914 – 1918) AS A TRIBUTE
TO THOSE MEMBERS OF THE COMPANY’S
STAFF WHO AT THE COST OF LIFE OR LIMB OR HEALTH
AND IN THE FACE OF INDESCRIBABLE SUFFERING &
HARDSHIP SERVED THEIR COUNTRY IN HER HOUR OF NEED.
MANY WERE INSPIRED BY THE FAITH THAT THIS WAR
MIGHT BE THE END OF WAR – THAT VICTORY WOULD
LEAD TO AN ENDURING PEACE & TO GREATER HAPPINESS
FOR THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD. THE CREATION OF
A LEAGUE OF NATIONS WILL BE A FITTING CROWN TO THE
FAITH AND HOPE OF THE MEN WHO HAVE FOUGHT
AND A TRUE MEMORIAL TO THEIR ENDURANCE
HEROISM COMRADESHIP AND SACRIFICE.

The Grade II listed ornamental gates at the park's Terry Avenue entrance were installed in 1954 as a memorial to those who died during the Second World War. The associated memorial plaque (also located in the memorial lych gate) reads:

THE GATES AT THE RIVERSIDE ENTRANCE TO
THIS PARK WERE GIVEN TO THE CITY OF YORK BY
ROWNTREE & CO. LTD. IN MEMORY OF ALL THOSE
FROM THE COCOA WORKS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES
IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR (1939 – 1945) AND IN
THANKSGIVING FOR THE COURAGE AND STEADFASTNESS
OF THE PEOPLE OF YORK THROUGHOUT THOSE YEARS.
EXCEPT THE LORD KEEP THE CITY:
THE WATCHMAN WAKETH BUT IN VAIN.

Additional information regarding the park's history and its function as a war memorial is available on the Rowntree Society's website (see 'External Links' below).

Practical Information

Where is Rowntree Park?

Terry Avenue

York

North Yorkshire

England

United Kingdom


Coordinates (latitude, longitude): 53.948594, -1.082164

View location on Google mapping.

Cost Category (Categories)

Rowntree Park forms part of a pleasant 1.5 mile circular walk from Skeldergate Bridge (near Tower Gardens and Clifford's Tower) via the New Walk, the Millennium Bridge, and Terry Avenue.

Additional practical information

Please note that Rowntree Park lies on the functional flood plain of the River Ouse and that it may be inaccessible when the river is in flood and for the duration of post-flood clean-up works. Before visiting, you are advised to check the current status of the park via the York City Council website (see 'External Links' below).