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?).
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Definitely worth a visit, especially when there are ducklings, moorhen and coot chicks and goslings to spot!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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?!
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!
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.
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!
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!
Here are some more places where you can see spring flowers.
Breezy Knees is a garden, nursery and café at Stockton on the Forest near York which I had heard of a while ago but was somewhat put off by the silly name. However, we’d been told it was good so thought we would go and – wow! It’s lovely!
The café seems to be quite a draw judging by the numbers of people –we didn’t sample it so I can’t comment! – but the gardens are extensive enough that it didn’t feel remotely crowded despite the numbers.
The different areas are separated by fences or hedges and you can visit gardens for different times of the year plus the beautifully scented rose garden, the shade garden, rock garden, cottage garden and many more, including fountains and ponds.
The paths are mainly tarmac or fine gravel, some are rougher gravel and some are grass – this was a bit bumpy for comfort but we didn’t have to go that way, we could have back tracked and stayed on the smoother paths. There are also plenty of benches.
It’s all accessible apart from a couple of sections, which the staff explained and marked on the map for us but there was plenty to see anyway. The café is accessible too – also lots of the seating is outside and there is an accessible loo, although this was a little tight for the scooter I was using which is 50cm wide There is ample parking with some reserved for blue badge holders.
I can definitely see us going for a return visit – you can get a season ticket which would make it worthwhile if you planned to visit four or more times a year.
A friend once told me that our family had a thing about making the most of rhododendron time and I must say I do seem to have a deep-rooted sense that you ought to get out there and see daffodils, bluebells, blossom,
rhododendrons, roses etc when they are looking their best!
So after not going there for years, we went to Moorlands to the north of York
to see the rhododendrons! It had rained a little that morning so there was the most glorious damp woodsy smell but the sun was now out and so were the birds – there must have been hundreds of them singing their heads off and we very clearly heard a cuckoo calling. There were plenty of rhododendrons and azaleas in bloom but also
plenty yet to flower so it would be worth visiting in the next couple of weeks.
It is managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and it is not large so makes a good short visit – there is a circular route which takes you past a couple of ponds as well as through the woods and for the able-bodied, there’s a bird hide up some steps. There are plenty of benches and carved posts showing you the wildlife to look out for (we spotted a couple of bunnies!) as well as information boards about the wildlife and the history of the place. The YWT also manage Askham Bog which we visited earlier in the year.
In very wet weather I can imagine Moorlands would be very muddy but despite the morning’s rain, when we went it was just damp albeit with a few easily-avoided puddles. The path is mainly just earth: a little uneven in places but nothing drastic, largely flat and with room for passing. The main obstacle is a kissing-gate at the entrance, but I was able to negotiate it on my scooter with a three-point turn. (OK, maybe slightly more than three!) Parking is by the roadside outside the gate – there is space for about a dozen cars and the road is quiet so it was all perfectly easy.
I definitely recommend this for a visit at any time but especially at this time of year – rhododendron time!
The autumn colours seem to be particularly fabulous this year and our determination to get out and see them took us to Roundhay Park.
We had borrowed scooters here before but they have changed where you collect them – now it is from the shop at Tropical World. They take your details and show you how the scooter works. There is a slight snag though if you were visiting on your own – how would you get into Tropical World to collect your scooter? At Temple Newsham, for example, they bring the scooter to your car. I suppose not everywhere can do that but it’s something to bear in mind – you need to be able to get to the collection point or have someone with you who can collect the scooter for you.
Anyway, once on the scooter (and they are very high – more so than last time, it was a struggle to get on!) we visited the Alhambra Gardens over the road then headed for the park proper and the colours were absolutely magnificent! So glad we went!
The scooters cope with uneven terrain really well but go rather fast when you’re heading downhill and I found it a little awkward keeping the lever in the ‘on’ position but we were out for a good hour and a half, so it can’t have been that bad! According to the council website you need a Radar key for the toilets and beware when looking up the number to ring for booking – the one on the park’s own website is wrong, it’s the one on the council website that is right: 0113 2370754. There is a café at Tropical World and at The Mansion and another by the Waterloo Lake. The booking process was easy once I had the right number, staff were pleasant, the park is wonderful and I thoroughly recommend a visit!