Our Vision

Welcome to the Friends of Leeman Park. We are a group of volunteers started in August 2014 with a vision to smarten and enhance Leeman Park, Back Park and our overall neighbourhood.

Our achievements to date include...

  • Smartening Cinder Lane tree bases, painting the entire 1/3 mile wall and planting bulbs under all the trees
  • Creating a nature reserve at the end of Balfour Street
  • Creating a community orchard behind the war memorial
  • Creating an Edible York community allotment in Back Park
  • Many, many small improvements and fixes, graffiti removal, litter picking and general smartening.

... But most importantly we've built an engaged community that is taking the destiny of its neighbourhood in its own hands. Join us!

Cycle Path, 20% extra freed!

Cycle path with grass edge restored

We hope that cyclists appreciate the recent work to restore the grass boundary to its original place. We have been working our way along the route and cut back where the grass has grown over the path over the years. We've recovered over a foot wide sections in places, restoring valuable extra space.

We also plan to keep on top of leaves this autumn and salt this winter to help keep our commuting route pleasant and safe for all.

Victoria Park fit for play

Once again the group have been keen to sort out an area in our neighbourhood where we see a need. This time it was the access to Victoria Park (aka Grassy Park to the kids). The route in was somewhat overgrown with nettles, and didn't really set the scene for parents and kids to want to use the play park.

We've cleared the nettles and smartened up the access path. We are going to seed some "green manure" over winter to improve the soil and lessen the weed re growth, so that in the spring we can plant something more attractive.

Building relationships

This morning I met with Chris from Network Rail to discuss our proposals and ongoing upkeep of the concrete wall. It's looking really promising that we should be able to form a great symbiotic relationship and we look forward to working closely with Network Rail.

We are also establishing contact with York Tree Wardens, who are also volunteers who look out for the trees in York's public spaces. We hope to be able to benefit from their wisdom and ensure that our efforts compliment each other.

Path rediscovered

The path leading from Garnet Terrace towards Holgate Beck and Water End was on the verge of being completely covered over, forcing people to use the grass instead.

However, on Tuesday the group cropped back the bush, returning the path to being usable again. As ever, we are always on the look out for anywhere that needs our attention in our community.

Benches - river view restored

Many of our improvements are difficult to notice after we've made them because all you see afterwards is how it ought to be.

A good example is restoring the view from the benches on the riverbank. Now, rather than sitting with your feet beside nettles and facing tall weeds, we've restored the view to make the benches much more pleasant to use.

We are mindful that we don't over-do our clearing. There is a fine balance for conservation to allow nature to thrive, whilst also keeping the area pleasant and usable for people to enjoy.

We'll be in the next Your Voice magazine

Look out for us in the Autumn "Your Voice" magazine, which is the York Council publication that is distributed to all the households in York.

Kristina Davey (York Council's Community Involvement Officer) has written an article about our vision and our achievements to date. We hope that our phenomenal first month acts as inspiration for volunteers across the city, and serves as a great example of how a little community action can make such a big difference to a community.

Meeting new volunteers

Following the survey that went round our neighbourhood from York Council, I've received the contact details for quite a lot of new volunteers, which is great!

In order to make sure everyone gets an appropriate introduction to the group, as well as to cover a few induction points and also to share ideas and views, new volunteers are being asked to meet us at one of the following opportunities...

Inspiration from San Fran

On a recent trip to San Francisco it was observed that even a park as massive and prestigious as the Golden Gate Park was being smartened and maintained by an army of local volunteers.

Certainly inspirational for us volunteers of humble Leeman Park!

Tree bases smartened

Our latest endeavour has been to work on the tree bases, which have become overgrown since the council mowers aren't able to get close enough.

After clearing the long grass and weeds we've removed a circle of grass and replaced with bark chippings, which should make the mowing easier. We also plan to add some attractive planting, probably in the Spring.

We've just managed a few trees so far. With many more to work at, we're still keen for more volunteers. Many hands make light work!

Tansy conservation

Whilst clearing the thistles, nettles, long grass and fast-spreading Himalayan Balsam, we've found some Tansy plants.

Big deal, you might think?

Fortunately our eagle eyed friend from York council, Jenny, educated us on it's significance. The Tansy plant is home to the declining Tansy Beetle, which only lives in the UK along a limited stretch of the river Ouse. Hence, we've unintentionally become conservationists since by clearing the competing weeds and leaving the Tansy plant to thrive, we should hopefully help create more habitat for the Tansy beetle.


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