York Walks /1

River Foss, Foss Bridge and Rowntree Wharf

Photographed in January 2004

This rather utilitarian brick marks the entrance to . . .

This rather utilitarian brick marks the entrance to . . .

. . . A little-known quiet spot by the river Foss.

. . . A little-known quiet spot by the river Foss.

It doesn't seem to have a formal name, but in his fine book Walk Around the Snickelways of York, Mark W Jones suggests the name "Foss Bridge Reach". Here on Foss Bridge Reach you can watch ducks and other waterfowl, admire the weeping willow tree and Rowntree Wharf, or, as I did as an angst-ridden adolescent, sit and write a poem about how grim life is.

Ducks! Various waterfowl bravely occupy the rather murky waters of the River Foss

I'm not good on my waterfowl, but I think those ones on the left are ducks.

Rowntree Wharf – a rather handsome building that used to be used, as its name suggests, to service the local chocolate company. Now converted to housing. A closer view of Rowntree Wharf and the River Foss, from 'Foss Bridge Reach'

This imposing 19th century building, originally known as Leetham's Mill, was designed by Walter Penty. Rowntree and Co took over the building in 1937. Mark W Jones, in The Snickelways of York, writes of Navigation Warehouse (as it was apparently known at one stage): "until 1967 thousands of tons of ingredients, including cocoa beans and Gum Arabic, were shipped from Hull docks right up to the landing stage."

More recently, this much-admired industrial building has been converted into offices and flats, and is now known as Rowntree Wharf.

I revisited Rowntree Wharf and took some closer views. The first (below, left) is from the side of the building itself, from the iron walkway that passes along the side of the building and then crosses the Foss, as shown on the following photo (below, right). The light wasn't too good, so the photo of the building at the bottom of the page is rather moody and dramatic, but I quite like the effect.

Walkway alongside the Rowntree Wharf building, looking towards Foss Bridge Rowntree Wharf
Rather imposing – Rowntree Wharf

Related pages: For views from Rowntree Wharf, of the changes near the Foss, see By the Foss – 1990 and 2004. The area by the Foss here also features in Ripe for redevelopment.

For more York locations connected with the Rowntree family, see York Walks /4: Homestead Park and York Walks /4: Riverside walk – Rowntree Park to Bishopthorpe.