Revisiting familiar places

St Nicholas Fields

Recently we visited somewhere we’ve only been to once before at a different time of year, a couple of places we are very familiar with at all times of the year, somewhere completely new and somewhere we haven’t been to for 19 years!

Decent path surface, Fairburn Ings
Decent path surface, Fairburn Ings

All of them were great in different ways. It’s lovely to go somewhere that you’ve never been to before, as Fairburn Ings was for us, especially if you come away feeling that you would like to go back, that there is still more to explore.

Boardwalk and flooding, Fairburn Ings
Boardwalk and flooding, Fairburn Ings

It was also fascinating to visit the place we hadn’t been to for nearly 20 years, in this case St Nicholas Fields in York. They run all sorts of eco-themed events for kids and anyone who wants to get involved but it’s also a very peaceful and wildlife friendly place for a stroll. We lived very near it when it was first established and, as you can imagine, it looks very different now: little saplings are now fully grown trees!

St Nicholas Fields
St Nicholas Fields

That’s what I love about going back to familiar places: seeing how they have changed. When we went to Burnby Hall Gardens recently, I found that my memory of it was very hazy and it was actually much better than I remembered! This is partly because they have been developing it, creating new pathways, revamping the museum and generally making it more accessible.

The Rock Garden, Burnby Hall Gardens
The Rock Garden, Burnby Hall Gardens

Visiting places you are very familiar with could be seen as routine or dull but when it’s a garden or park, it’s different every time you go. When we lived near Rowntree Park we probably averaged a visit every week and while we don’t now go there as frequently as that, we know it well enough to notice small changes and developments.

Rowntree Park
Rowntree Park

It’s great to see that at least some of the roses planted next to the pergola have grown up the posts and over the top like they’re supposed to. I expect a lot of the children who visit would agree that the totem pole and ‘chess piece’ horse (if not perhaps the helmet which never seems to receive much attention) are fun additions to the park. The flowerbeds seemed to be doing very well on our last visit and there is always something of interest, whatever the time of year.

The pergola, Rowntree Park
The pergola, Rowntree Park

The University of York campus also changes all the time, although that is often because new buildings are being added but it is still very pleasant with plenty of wildlife and good paths.

Tree maintenance going on at York Uni
Tree maintenance going on at York Uni

More and more, I feel inclined to give my time and money, if we are talking about somewhere with an entry fee, to places that have made an effort to make themselves accessible to all, rather than ones that have made what seems to be more of a token gesture. There are also places which are reasonably accessible but it’s just not that convenient for me anymore such as ones where you really need to be use a proper overland type scooter because of the terrain, such as Golden Acre Park or Temple Newsam near Leeds or Thorp Perrow Arboretum near Bedale. If you can manage a large mobility scooter and cope with some jolts and bumps over the rough terrain, I still thoroughly recommend them.

Thorp Perrow
Thorp Perrow

It’s a bit cold now for visiting outdoor places – fine you are walking briskly but rather too chilly if you are sitting on a scooter! I’m already planning and looking forward to next year’s excursions though!

Here are some more accessible places to visit.

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.

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.

 

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

Daffodils and blossom!

In the gorgeous sunshine of last Sunday we went for a spin along the riverbank and around Rowntree Park. No ducklings yet but plenty of other signs of spring – trees coming into leaf, blossom and lots of daffodils!

Rowntree Park, York
Rowntree Park, York

For a trip like this, I prefer my Bootmaster as it feels safer; my new powerchair would actually cope fine but going down the steepish slope as you enter the park gates from the riverside would probably feel a bit scary in the chair. It’s just psychological – I don’t suppose there’s any danger of actually falling out!

Daffodils in Rowntree Park, York
Daffodils in Rowntree Park, York

 

Pergola, Rowntree Park, York
Pergola, Rowntree Park, York

 

 

 

Here are some more places where you can see spring flowers.

 

 

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York University

Great places for Autumn colours

Roundhay Park, Leeds

Bit chillier now but we’re still getting plenty of sunshine so a great time to catch some lovely Autumn colours. Rowntree Park in York is starting to look good and I know

Roundhay Park, Leeds
Roundhay Park, Leeds

Roundhay Park, Temple Newsam and Golden Acre in Leeds, Fountains Abbey, Ripon and Thorp Perrow near Bedale will soon be looking spectacular!