Rowntree Park looking lovely!

Rowntree Park

Roses, lupins, clematis, goslings… there’s plenty going on in Rowntree Park!

Rowntree Park
Rowntree Park

It looked more well-tended than sometimes when we visited the other day and, as ever, the mix of tree types is very striking: copper beeches contrasting with the greenery. There have been some improvements in the pathways, various uneven bits have been smoothed.

Love the contrasting colours!
Love the contrasting colours!
Goslings, Rowntree Park
Goslings, Rowntree Park

There are always plenty of interesting things to look out for. On our visit there were goslings, moorhen chicks and ducklings and all the installations which make the park so varied such as the duck house on the pond, the ‘chess-piece’ horse that small children love to scramble on, the totem pole and the helmet. There is of course, the more traditional play equipment and the skateboard park and there is even a boat selling ice creams across the river!

The ice cream boat!
The ice cream boat!
The Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge

I used to always use my scooter when we went to the park, but actually my Powerchair handles all the surfaces absolutely fine, even the slight bump at the flood barrier.

Rowntree Park
Rowntree Park

Lovely as The Homestead is, you can make a longer visit at Rowntree Park because of the paths by the river. These are a little rougher than the paths within the park and the cycle path heading out of town is rather bumpy with tree roots but not too bad. I understood that was going to be fixed, perhaps it will be soon.

Riverside paths
Riverside paths

It’s always a pleasure to visit Rowntree Park and the riverside paths.

More accessible places to visit.

York’s most beautiful park: now less bumpy!

Homestead Park, York

Decided to give Homestead Park a go with my power chair rather than my scooter. I had my email to the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust half written in my head, asking if they could make the crazy paving a bit smoother and found that they have done exactly that: the pathway near the pond that was a bit rough going is now tarmac like most of the rest of the paths – hooray!

Homestead Park, York
Homestead Park, York

I still emailed them, though, to enquire if the surface of the car park could be improved as it is really bumpy and they promptly replied to say that they are looking to improve it, so good news all round for those of us who like a smooth ride when possible.

Circle Garden, Homestead Park, York
Circle Garden, Homestead Park, York
Celebrating 800 years of York as a city
Celebrating 800 years of York as a city

It was a lovely, sunny day so the park was being very well used: the children’s play area seems really popular and there were plenty of people admiring the gorgeous flower beds.

Homestead Park, York
Homestead Park, York

There always seem to be improvements on the go. During our last visit, they were replacing the trees on the Cherry Walk and these were in bloom and looking lovely. There was a guy in waders clearing the pond and plenty of other staff generally tending the place, which is always immaculately kept.

Always improvements going on at Homestead Park, York
Always improvements going on at Homestead Park, York

Great to know that they are committed to improvements in accessibility as well as in horticulture!

Homestead Park, York
Homestead Park, York

Here are some other accessible places to visit.

Late Spring in Rowntree Park

Ducklings, Rowntree Park
Ducklings, Rowntree Park

We had hoped there would be ducklings in Rowntree Park and there were! Quite big really, and we also spotted a coot on its nest, sheltering several tiny young ones (cootlets?).

Coot's nest, Rowntree Park
Coot’s nest, Rowntree Park

We came along the riverside path to the main gates from the direction of the Millennium Bridge having parked at the bottom of Butcher Terrace and all the trees, shrubs and cow-parsley are lush and beautiful.Heading to Rowntree Park from the Millennium Bridge

The flower borders in the park look a little less wild and neglected than sometimes and have plenty of colour and interest – lupins, geraniums, peonies, euphorbia and much more.

Flower borders, Rowntree Park
Flower borders, Rowntree Park

All the grassy areas are positively rank with daisies – thanks to all the goose poo fertiliser, I presume – beautiful or a bit much? Not sure.

There’s an attractive art installation of lots of tiny yellow birds on one side of the bridge and an uneven bit of the lake path has been repaved – hurrah!

Rowntree Park
Rowntree Park

As it was half-term, the kids’ play equipment, skate-park and café were all being well-used and as the sun was out, everything looked gorgeous. We even got a wave from pleasure boat passengers on the river!

River bank, York
River bank, York

Last time we came for a visit the park was flooded so instead we went to the Homestead, but both parks are lovely, accessible and well worth a visit.

 

Always something of interest at The Homestead!

Plenty of daffodils are already out at The Homestead

I thought I was going to be blogging about Rowntree Park but when we got there (as we half expected) it was closed because the river is in flood. (The rest of the city is fine, just a couple of riverside paths are under water!)

Instead, we tracked across town to The Homestead and discovered that, whatever the time of year, there is always something interesting to see there.

Spring flowers at The Homestead
Spring flowers at The Homestead

They are replacing the old flowering cherry trees in the Cherry Walk (and in fact seem to have planted lots of new trees all round the park) so that particular part was fenced off, but you could get round to see all the rest of the park by just taking a different route. There are plenty of daffodils out as well as camellias, hyacinths, primulas, scillas, hellebores and lots of ornamental bushes with interesting foliage.

Gearing up for Spring at The Homestead
Gearing up for Spring at The Homestead

When we last visited they were creating a space with some seating next to the mediaeval garden. This is now finished and has an attractive water feature.

Medieval Garden at The Homestead
Medieval Garden at The Homestead

The park also has a children’s play area and pop-up café, although these was shut on the day we visited probably because the heavy rain had made everywhere so muddy. There is also a rock garden, pond and plenty of benches and also toilets including an accessible one which no longer seems to need a RADAR key.

Hellebores at The Homestead
Hellebores at The Homestead

The car park has several marked Blue Badge bays and although there is some rather bumpy concrete to get over to reach the path, and some of the paved paths are a little rough, most of them are tarmac.

Plenty of daffodils are already out at The Homestead
Plenty of daffodils are already out at The Homestead

It’s good to know that The Homestead can be enjoyed at any time of year and as the weather improves and the tree-planting is finished, it can only get even more beautiful!

See my review from last year.

Formal beds, The Homestead
Last year’s formal beds, The Homestead

Accessible woodland trails

Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum is a great place to visit if you like woods and great views!

Amazing view at Queenswood Arboretum, Herefordhsire
Amazing view at Queenswood Arboretum, Herefordhsire

We came here after visiting Hampton Court Castle which has a lovely accessible walled garden but whose woodland trails required a bigger scooter than mine.

We picnicked in the car park surrounded by trees (parking is free with a Blue Badge) then moved to the main car park which has some designated Blue Badge spaces and set off into the woods with a basic map provided by the visitor centre. The trails are way-marked, including the route to the viewing point!

Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire
Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire

The paths were earth and occasionally a little muddy in places (as it had chucked it down the previous night, it was actually remarkably dry!) and generally bump-free. We made our way to the viewing point for yet another wonderful view of the Herefordshire countryside.

Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire
Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire

As it is an arboretum, many of the trees were labelled but we managed to identify a giant redwood even before reading the sign!

Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire
Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire

The visitor centre has locally made honey and preserves and some lovely cards and gifts and friendly staff. Accessible loo a little small but enough room for my scooter! Plenty of parking, including some Blue Badge spaces although it could possibly do with some more and I’m not surprised – it was a great place to visit not only for scooter-users: there were plenty of people with pushchairs as well. You can borrow an electric scooter for a suggested £5 donation if you book it in advance.

I thoroughly recommend this place if you fancy some fresh air, trees and a lovely view!

We visited while we were staying at Valley View, Thatch Close Cottages, Llangrove. Other accessible things to do nearby include Yat Rock and Hampton Court Castle, The Prospect, a modest park in Ross-on-Wye with yet more lovely views and the riverside paths down below – in fact the tourist office sent us a wheel-users route to get around Ross – it’s good to know more places are starting to think of these things.

Venturing across the river!

Near the river at Fulford

For a change, we explored the Fulford side of the Millenium Bridge. The grass is left long to encourage wildflowers, so it had really quite a rural look.

Near the river at Fulford
Near the river at Fulford

The mown paths would be passable on a really sturdy scooter, but we stuck to the tarmac cycle/footpaths.

Cycle paths by the Millennium Bridge
Cycle paths by the Millennium Bridge

I had always thought of the grassy area by the bridge as being Fulford Ings, but according to Google Maps, they are actually further along. The path becomes a bit rough by then, so, having passed the grassy area by way of the cycle/footpath, then Love Lane amongst the trees, we turned around at St Oswald’s church – it’s a private house, complete with gravestones in the garden! The Ings were the site of the Battle of Fulford, precursor to the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.

River bank by the Millennium Bridge
River bank by the Millennium Bridge

Everywhere smelled gorgeously woodsy, so it made for a pleasant saunter, then we headed on past the bridge once more and along New Walk.

Towards Blue Bridge from New Walk
Towards Blue Bridge from New Walk

We hadn’t been this way for ages and having once been very familiar with it from living nearby some years ago was an added interest plus there are a few things to look out for, like the railtracks, a relic from the area’s more industrial past and Pikeing Well, once a fresh water fountain – the history of it is on an information plaque nearby.

New Walk
New Walk

There are plenty of benches along both sides of the river and platforms built out into the river so you can get a good view. There is even an ice-cream boat!

Boats on the river
Boats on the river

You could carry on along the bank, over Blue Bridge and into town but we headed back over the Millenium Bridge to good old Rowntree Park and –yes! – there were some ducklings as well as goslings, not to mention plenty of people enjoying the sunshine and the roses!

Rowntree Park
Rowntree Park

Ducklings in Rowntree Park
Ducklings in Rowntree Park

Lush greenery!

Island in the lake, Rowntree Park

Island in the lake, Rowntree Park
Island in the lake, Rowntree Park

The wonderfully accessible Rowntree Park and the nearby riverside are looking lush and green with the trees, hedges, herbaceous plants and cow-parsley all bursting with life!

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Millennium Bridge, York

Carpets of daisies as well – rather too many in fact – must be all the fertiliser they get, courtesy of the geese!

Canada geese, Rowntree Park
Canada geese, Rowntree Park

Goslings and daisies, Rowntree Park
Goslings and daisies, Rowntree Park

No ducklings or moorhen or coot chicks, but some cute goslings.

The arbour, Rowntree Park
The arbour, Rowntree Park

Other York green spaces includes the university campus and Homestead Park.

Formal beds, The Homestead
Formal beds, The Homestead

York University campus
York University campus

Goslings!

Goslings, York University campus

We had a turn round the ‘old’ campus of York University to see the blossom and hoped we’d see some cute wildlife and found that we’d timed it just right to see some goslings at their cutest, before they get too big!

Goslings, York University campus
Goslings, York University campus

There were also ducklings and loads of other water fowl, plus trees coming into leaf, spring flowers and a general sense of everything bursting into life again.

York University campus
York University campus

We parked in the huge carpark off Heslington Lane where there are some Blue Badge spaces where the parking is free. The paths are generally very good – some have a bit of a camber; in places there are chicanes to slow down cyclists; occasionally a path is a bit rough, but there is always an alternative route. Many of the buildings have automatic doors and many have accessible loos in them – some bigger than others. There are often building works going on, but again, there are so many paths and different routes around the campus that you can always avoid them.

York University campus
York University campus

Timing is important – weekends and out of term time is best – then there is more the atmosphere of a public park than a university campus, what with anglers, and kids feeding the ducks.

York University campus
York University campus

Also, there are plenty of interesting things to look at as you go round – information boards, an intricately carved tree stump, sculptures and plenty of benches.

York University campus
York University campus

Definitely worth a visit, especially when there are ducklings, moorhen and coot chicks and goslings to spot!

York University campus
York University campus

York University campus
York University campus

Beautiful, accessible flowerbeds!

The Homestead, York

The Homestead Park, York, is a 14 acre park belonging to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, in the grounds of what was the home of Joseph’s son Seebohm, which is now the headquarters of the JRF.

The Homestead, York
The Homestead, York

You can enter on foot from Waterend or from Shipton Road, where the carpark is, which includes several Blue Badge spaces. It’s gravelled, so my powerchair would not have coped with it, but we had taken my scooter, so, having parked in the bay nearest the gate, it was just a case of bumping over some concrete before the tarmac began. The paths in the park are largely tarmac with some crazy paving and flat except for a few sloping bits near the pond – easily avoidable if needed and there are a number of benches as you go round.

Formal beds, The Homestead
Formal beds, The Homestead

The whole place is beautifully kept – I expect it’s lovely all year round but this was certainly a good time to visit as there is lots of blossom as well as spring flowers, some in immaculate formal beds with wonderful colour combinations, others in less formal herbaceous beds and perhaps because of the previous day’s rain, there was a lovely woodsy smell.

The Homestead, York
The Homestead, York

There is also a medieval garden, constructed in honour of the 800th anniversary of York being granted a royal charter.

Medieval Garden, The Homestead
Medieval Garden, The Homestead

The pond, surrounded by acers and rhododendrons was a surprise – we must have missed it when we visited once, many years ago.

The pond, The Homestead
The pond, The Homestead

There is lots of play equipment for the under-12s, as well as plenty of grass to run around on, toilets, including accessible ones (they require a RADAR key – I contacted the JRT after our trip to check if this was the case and they said the park staff always have a spare one) and there was also a pop-up reading café in operation the day we went.

Blossom at The Homestead, York
Blossom at The Homestead, York

Noticeboards by each entrance have a plan of the layout of the park and leaflets about the park, the wildlife and the trees which you can also download from their website and there are signposts pointing out where things are. There is information about the park on DisabledGo, but as ever, it’s completely contradictory, including saying that there isn’t level access to the accessible loo! This is why sites with reviews are a much more reliable source of information – I shall submit a review to what is probably the most extensive one, Euan’sGuide, soon!

The Homestead, York
The Homestead, York

I can imagine us going back to The Homestead Park in summer to see how the formal beds have changed – it’s not a long visit (unless you sat in the sun for a while or spent a long time in the reading café!) but it was such a pleasure!

Another lovely York park is of course Rowntree Park with its pond, café, play equipment and ducks!

Canal Gardens in the sunshine!

Canal Gardens, Leeds

I hadn’t visited Canal Gardens for years so when we decided to have a trip to Roundhay Park, we took in the gardens too and they were looking splendid!

Canal Gardens, Leeds
Canal Gardens, Leeds

I took my own scooter this time as last time I found the ones you can borrow too high to get onto! My dad borrowed a park scooter and the instructions are that you head straight out of Canal Gardens – I suppose they consider them too big to manoeuvre in the more confined space – so we headed first for the Monet and Alhambra Gardens. Forgot to take photos, so one from Autumn will have to do!

Alhambra Garden, Roundhay Park
Alhambra Garden, Roundhay Park

These gardens are really accessible and while the Monet Garden looks best in Summer, there is always something of interest – the daffodils were pretty much over but there were hundreds of what I think were scilla under the trees – very pretty!
We then headed for the park ‘proper’ which is always good to see- what a great resource Leeds has in Roundhay Park!

Barran's Fountain, Roundhay Park
Barran’s Fountain, Roundhay Park

My scooter coped fine with the paths but I did notice a slight feeling of strain because the paths all have quite a camber – you are frequently leaning at an angle. I didn’t notice on previous occasions, presumably because of using their large scooters. Never mind, didn’t spoil the visit!

The Mansion, Roundhay Park
The Mansion, Roundhay Park

It was pretty chilly despite the sunshine, so we didn’t make a long visit and it was a good excuse to sample the tearooms in the gardens.

Roundhay Park, Leeds
Roundhay Park, Leeds

Dad returned his scooter but nobody queried mine as we entered the tearooms via the sliding windows on the terrace. It wasn’t busy despite some schools being on holiday and was quite civilised with pleasant staff. The cakes were all pre-packaged but weren’t bad, particularly the ’Yorkshire Rascals’ – presumably a cousin of Fat Rascals?!

Canal Gardens, Leeds
Canal Gardens, Leeds

After that we had a look at the gardens, which always look good. The walled garden area will look wonderful when the roses are out. The main part has planted beds and of course, the canal! There is also an intricately carved tree stump, depicting animals you’ll find in the gardens, including meerkats!

Canal Gardens, Leeds
Canal Gardens, Leeds

A few practicalities: there are accessible loos in the various cafés and the visitor centre, Blue Badge parking outside Tropical World and on Mansion Lane. We parked in the Tram Park as I find it easier to get in and out onto/from the road surface, as it were, than the pavement, although actually, the pavement is mostly very low in Mansion Lane. The council’s page for Roundhay Park has plenty of access information and the number to ring to book scooters, which are free.

The park also looks fabulous in Autumn!