Parks, walks and outdoor areas

Probably the most famous park in York, Rowntree Park covers 25 acres situated on the River Ouse and was a major gift donated by Joseph Rowntree in 1921 as a memorial to the members of the Cocoa Works’ staff who fell in WW1, to be (in his words) a ‘quiet restful memorial park’, rather than ‘another stone obelisk’. It is divided into formal and informal areas, to reflect the Rowntrees’ belief in making facilities that were available to all. It has a shallow curving lake spanned by a lych-gate and dovecote, formal gardens, a playground and tennis courts.

The “Ascot of the North” York Racecourse isn’t just the Northern home of the sport of kings and regular concerts it is also an impressive area to walk and relax.

No visit to York would be complete without a walk around the York City Walls. At 3.4 kilometres long these beautifully preserved walls are the longest medieval town walls in England. About 2.5 million people walk along all or part of the City walls each year, enjoying some amazing views.

Set in the stunning surroundings of the medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, York Museum Gardens are a great place of peace and tranquillity that the gardens have to offer. You can see inside Yorkshire’s oldest working observatory, wander around the gardens and see the vast botanical collection, spot some of the forty species of bird and visit the award-winning Yorkshire Museum, which showcases some of Britain’s finest archaeological treasures and many rare animals, birds and fossils, in exciting new displays.

Set in 24 acres. St Nicolas Fields, a designated a Local Nature Reserve, is home to a wide range of species, developing habitats including meadows and woodland. Goldfinches, chaffinches, bullfinches, bramblings, siskins, robins, wrens, sparrows, dunnocks, blackbirds, song and mistle thrushes. Migrant redwings can be seen in winter.

The largest and best known of York’s historic strays. Micklegate Stray is made up of distinct areas: Scarcroft Green, Scarcroft allotments, Hospital Fields allotments and Hob Moor allotments, Hob Moor, Little Hob Moor and the Knavesmire, home to the city’s famous racecourse, and the Little Knavesmire.

The Minster Gardens, to the rear of York Minster, are a haven of peace and quiet.  No cycling, no ball games, no music!

There are at least twelve bowling greens in the city, full details and links HERE.

Bootham Stray is an important part of the historic landscape of York and a link to the surrounding farmland. There is a great sense of space but the busy Wigginton Road, cutting through the stray, makes this a piece of countryside in the city. There are more than 100 acres of grassland, with large parts grazed by cattle.