Who are the VYFWBP?

We are a friendly community group, run by parents, who meet every Thursday morning in West Bank Park, York. Whatever the weather, school hols included, we spend a couple of hours in the woods and meadows of the Park, doing nature games and crafts, building or making things with materials we find, telling stories and singing songs.

We are open to all - with a contribution of £1 a family (to cover basic equipment) - so if you want to join us, see you on Thursday at 10am at the statue of Queen Victoria, at the top of the Rose Walk. (Bring something simple to share at snack time.)

For more information contact Elly at: westbankparkkids@gmail.com

Saturday, 7 February 2009


West Bank Park is the scene of some rather dramatic tree surgery at the minute - men with tractors and diggers schlepping about through the woods and clearing lopping off enormous branches, sawing them up and hauling them around. It is probably just to prevent branches falling the next time heavy winds come, but the clearing has no bit of grass left and it is a bit alarming to watch the woods being so interfered with. For the adults, that is - the children are of course FASCINATED. But I personally will be relieved when they are gone.

However, we have to make the best of things, and the fact is that the clearing is surrounded by large and interesting lumps of wood in little groups. So we brought along toy cars and animals, and set up our own little road system of long logs, thin branches to make wobbly bridges between them, planks as 'slides'. At first it was the adults doing this, the children looking on bemused. Then a light went on and they rushed to play. Some had really good ideas: a wooden horse needed a bed and got one made of sawdust on the side of a quiet 'road'; a cow got a lean-to shelter built for it with twigs; more branches that were just the right shape or length needed to be sought out from the undergrowth. I think we will definitely repeat this activity at a later date.

Meanwhile, some of the children helped me 'wake up the bulbs' with some little bells - the snowdrops are just peeping out now. One little girl was perplexed that they didn't spring out straight away when she rang the bells - that is one for her mum to explain, I think. And some enthusiastically fed the birds in the wildlife area - what lucky birds to get such fistfuls of grain!

But by this time it was snowing hard, and too cold for most of us adults, so we went to the cafe for our story (about an old woman feeding the birds in her garden, of course) and lots of songs and rhymes.

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Our beloved Queen Victoria

Our beloved Queen Victoria
We sometimes bow to her before we set off into the woods!