I'm a travelling mother of one, from the UK but now living in Indonesia. Looking forward to sharing day out ideas with you.
Published July 16th 2019
It's a park, a community hub, a play area and so much more
The people of York are very lucky for many reasons. And one of them is for the number of parks and play areas we have. Perhaps there are more well-known parks but this one is dear to my heart as it was my local one when growing up. You'll find this 16-acre park around 30 minutes walk from the centre of York in an area called Holgate.
The park is such a size that there are entrances on Holgate Road, New Lane, Hamilton Drive, James Backhouse Place and Acomb Road. For most people, parking is easy as there are plenty of on-street parking along these roads. Or there's a small parking area in James Backhouse Place. I normally enter from Holgate Road due to that being the closest point to the children's play area. Saying that, it's worth mentioning that there are lots of great features to this park and it's so much more than just the play areas.
This lower section is fenced off for under 11's. Some of the play equipment here was slightly dated. I say 'was' as the park has just won a grant competition and new equipment is in the process of being fitted. This includes a zip wire, a basket swing, an adventure truck fort and a wheelchair accessible roundabout. Here, there's also a part in the woods which has climbing and balancing equipment blended in. It's a little like an obstacle course and the whole area is just an adventure to run around. And if you bring a picnic you can either choose to sit on one of the benches or the grass verges.
Leaving the play area behind, you can walk around the bowling greens either to the left, where you'll pass simple facilities. Continue your way around and you'll find the rose garden walkway. Taking this route involves a few steps to the upper section.
Or if you were to take the right, from the playground, there's a large open grass area with a path that leads up the hill to the same upper section. Here, you'll find a statue of Queen Victoria. I only mention this as she's normally the meeting point for the volunteer groups, but I'll mention more on them later.
Newly restored Queen Victoria statue by York Civic Trust
This second section has another lush garden area and path that leads to the Acomb Road gate. This is where you'll find the second play area for over 11's and a basketball court.
And now for a few fun extras. The park really seems to have a soul as the committee of volunteers do so much. They hold lots of social events throughout the year including a summer fair, Christmas carol services and café/cake mornings.
The park also runs a number of volunteer groups which is great for the community. These include the gate locking team, an after-school club and a rockery group that help weed certain sections of the park. And of course, don't forget they have an outdoor bowling team. My favourite group has to be the Little Friends of West Bank Park. They meet once a week and simply explore nature and the wildlife. Think, an outdoor play group. It's so good for the children and a great social meet for the parents.
Also, if you look at the West Bank Park website there's a link to an orienteering course for something a little different to do.
Although there are lots of highlights in this park my favourite feature has to be the hidden woodland area. You can easily find it from the lower section of the park. As you leave the lower under 11's play area walk around the bowling greens to the top left-hand corner of the second one. Don't turn right towards the rose garden path but instead, continue straight ahead. You'll find a dirt track/country path. Along this way, you'll pass the community pond with all its interesting wildlife for children to enjoy. My toddler particularly loves looking for frogspawn. If you continue up this woodland area you'll come across another picnic area. Eventually, the path comes out either by the Queen Victoria statue or further on up, near the basketball courts. And one last thing you can do; as you travel through the park keep an eye out for some fun wood carvings
The open lower green space - Picture by Gemma Greaves, with thanks