New Benches and Picnic Tables for Rowley Fields

Tuesday 22nd May 2018 saw the arrival of new hardwood benches to replace the rather tired ones located in the top field. Thanks to some super support from 11 donors and a donation from Waitrose Community Matters (Stratford upon Avon) we have been able to fund not one but two new benches. The brass plaques from the old bench have been polished up and fitted and are accompanied by two new plaques in memory of Lucy Strauss Mum, husband and teacher from Welcombe Hills School, and Val, Kathy Starkey’s Mum – both of whom loved the fields and hills. We hope the benches will be enjoyed by many people in the years to come.

In addition to the benches the Town Trust have installed two picnic tables which make a great addition and have already been used by walkers and local families.

Special thanks to Gavin Griffiths for project managing the benches, to Justin Williams and the Town Trust Team for the picnic tables and the staff at Waitrose for supporting our group.

Below are some before and after photos.



Memorial Bench Project

Thank you to everyone who supported us via the Community Matters Donation Programme at Waitrose. Your support earned a total of £413 during the month of December and today we received our cheque from the Stratford store.


The donation will support the Memorial Bench Project which together with donations from 11 friends and supporters has allowed us to reach our target.


In March two new hard wood benches will be installed replacing the rather dilapidated existing benches.


The Town Trust are due to landscape the area and position the two picnic tables at either side. They have also agreed to install concrete slabs in front of the two benches to avoid future erosion.


We hope the new benches and tables benefit everyone who uses the location. We thank our donors, Waitrose and the Town Trust for making the project possible.

Waitrose Community Matters

A big thank you to the partners at Waitrose Stratford upon Avon for choosing our group as one of three good causes to benefit from the Community Matters scheme in December 2017. We were extremely well supported by shoppers to with the largest number of green tokens which converted into a donation of £413 to Friends of Rowley Fields.

The Bench Project

Please see the attached article published on The Welcombe Hills web-site.

If you can support the project complete the online form or simply email us at if you have any questions.


New members


We still continue to welcome new members, if you know anyone who would be interested in joining and supporting our work please encourage them to join, if you haven’t joined yourself – please do .


Spring update 2017

Members may be interested to know that our Committee have continued to meet, in part to agree the future role of our group . We feel our aims which were agreed when we first established still remain current:

  • To liaise with the STT and other interested organisations to ensure that Rowley Fields is maintained to a good standard, providing a facility for recreation and leisure time activities.
  • To protect Rowley Fields for future generations.
  • To enhance Rowley Fields, ensuring free access by all, regardless of age or ability.
  • To be a point of contact for users to raise their concerns about Rowley Fields.
  • To raise public awareness about the historic, aesthetic, wildlife and amenity value of Rowley Fields and to encourage user participation.
  • To encourage membership of the Friends of Rowley Fields.


Having reviewed things we decided to approach the Trust with the aim of promoting points one and three above. In early March Tim Bailey and Jane Price met with Justin Williams and discussed the general maintenance and appearance of the fields. We based our meeting on a visual audit of the land and the feedback received from members during earlier consultations regarding the future uses of the fields.

The meeting was very positive, Justin invited us to provide a report highlighting the issues. Consequently, we have written to the Trust outlining the following:

  • Lack of signage e.g. the children’s play area
  • Notice Board
  • Erosion of walkways and gateways and the increased risk of slipping and falling during the winter months
  • Damage and repairs to fencing and gateways
  • Benches and seating (top field)


We have offered our help as volunteers for any basic low risk jobs that we could complete but clearly some of the work requires professional assistance.

We are confident that the Trust will respond positively and address the points we have raised.

As always if you have any points to raise please let us know or of course feel welcome to approach the Trust yourself if you would prefer.



Oedemera nobilis

One of our members was walking the fields today Monday 20th June 2016 and was attracted to the unusually deep pink dog rose growing just outside the maze area in the dip that was the pond, she could not believe her luck at finding this glorious iridescent pollen beetle inside one of the flowers. We don’t know if he has been reported in Rowley Fields before, but our eagle eyed walker first came across him in 2009 and at that time he was new to Warwickshire according to Stephen Falk at the county museum. The beetle is truly spectacular especially when the sun shines on him. His posh name is Oedemera nobilis.

Queen’s Birthday Celebrations

Well what a fantastic day.

Despite the mixed weather we had 250 visitors and raised over £430 for the Stratford Hospital Cancer & Eye Unit Appeal. (In addition to £190 raised for Butterfly Conservation). 14 raffle prizes are now on their way to the winners and the field is back to normal. Thank you to everyone who supported the FoRF and thanks to everyone involved in making the day such a great success:
Brenda Cox our Guest of Honour
Stratford Town Trust (for use of the land and Communities Parties Grant)
David & Lesley Heritage – Musical Organ
Students from Stratford upon Avon School, King Edward VI School and Shottery Girls Grammar School
Quentin Willson and Ian Andrew – Car display
Penny Bowden and Julie Helps – Cake Sale
Charlotte Doran Davies – Photography
All our cake bakers and raffle prize donors
Friends of Rowley Fields for set up and close down
The Stratford upon Avon Directory – poster and advertising
Annie’s Antics – Vintage Ice Cream

So what’s next?

Free Wild Flower Seeds

Late in 2015 Friends of Rowley Fields applied for a supply of free wild seeds from ‘Grow Wild’ a Lottery funded scheme managed by the Royal Botantical Gardens Kew. Originally, the thought was that we could sow them in parts of Rowley Fields and thereby enhance the views further. However, that will not be possible during 2016 and we therefore have around 30 packets of seeds which we would like to offer members, they can be sown in pots, tubs or beds. If you would like a packet please respond by the FoRF email link and we will arrange collection etc.

More information about the scheme can be found at:

Seeds in our mix

Grow Wild seed packets contain a colourful mix of UK native-origin wild flower seeds, which have been researched and sourced by experts at the UK Native Seed Hub in partnership with UK based seed suppliers. 

Grow Wild shares seed packets with groups and individuals through seasonal promotions and over 100 partner organisations across the UK. Over a million people have already got involved to transform unloved spaces into colourful wild flower havens.

Safety notice

Sensible garden precautions should be followed when growing wild flowers, so refrain from eating any plant not known to be edible, wash hands after working in the garden and before eating or touching lips and eyes, and see that pets and children who cannot be entirely trusted not to consume vegetation are supervised.

Grow Wild seed mixes contain a selection from the following list of UK native wild flowers:

Grow Wild seeds are not to be used in or near nature conservation areas.