York’s City Walls

York’s old City Walls are the most complete in England. They were built mainly in the 13th century on top of older Roman Walls and then earth banks added in the Anglian and early Medieval periods.  There are a few bits of dry moat left around the banks. The slopes are well known for their daffodils in March and April. At other times they are grassy or covered with wild flowers. More information on York’s City Walls history is available  HERE  and  HERE

A walk all round the walls (going up on the wall-walk, or just using the pavement outside them) takes about 2 hours. It will take longer if you pause much to look at things like the four main ‘bars’ (these are fortified gateways), the 2 lesser bars, the postern (this is a small gateway defended by a tower), the many other towers and details like arrow slits,  musket loops, sculptures and masons’ marks. There are also good views of many interesting buildings from up on the walls. The wall-walk is usually open daily from 8.00 am till dusk, but may not open in bad weather. For details see City of York Council web page HERE 

Wheelchairs, pushchairs and dogs are not practical up on the narrow wall-walk, but they are fine in the Museum Gardens where you can see York’s best Roman walls. These include the Multangular Tower which is topped with a row of arrow-slits from the time it was made a part of the city walls. Also here are the remains of St Mary’s Abbey – they include England’s best abbey-defending walls.  These, along with Clifford’s Tower, the castle wall nearby, and the City Walls, were all built at about the same time using the same Magnesian Limestone.

You can do a self-guided walk around the “York City Walls Trail” by using the Friends of York Walls website “Walls Trail” pages – see HERE  [ it’s FREE ], or buy the book “A Walking Guide to York’s City Walls” [ ISBN-13: 978-0992900205 approx. £6.99],  or the new “York’s City Walls Audio Trail” smartphone app [a single payment of £1.99 via the Guide.AI app, and guide ID 80] – see HERE .  Further information on all these is available on this FOYW website.

The Friends of York Walls is a registered charity = Number 1159300 


Fishergate Postern Tower

Fishergate Postern Tower (FPT) was built around 1505.  It is at the end of Piccadilly, beside a little gateway at an end of the walls. Water once filled the gap between this tower and York Castle.  It has four floors, a narrow spiral staircase, an unusually complete Tudor toilet and many masons’ marks. The present roof was probably added in the early 1600’s when this turned open battlements into the row of square windows all round the top floor. It is thought that the tower was used as a dovecote after the roof was added.

Friends of York Walls lease the tower from the City of York Council.  Displays here are about the tower and the history of the City Walls. Entry is FREE on our open days, and we can also open for payment.  Planned FPT Open Day dates are listed   HERE .   For £20, you can “Sponsor a Stone” in your name or for someone else – you choose a stone on an external wall of the tower and add an optional message – then a certificate and book entries link that stone and message uniquely to the name you give – see HERE .  Sponsorships have included simple “gifts to others”, dedications, marking personal special occasions, and “In Memorium” of loved ones !

Currently FOYW need more supporters, more volunteers and more committee members.  We also need more money for better displays, for roof repairs,  better lighting, etc..  Please consider joining our members and/or making a donation – see HERE  and help FOYW to carry on returning Fishergate Postern Tower to fuller community use.


Posted 12th July 2024    AF


A section of York’s City Walls walkway between Micklegate Bar and the Station Rise gate will be closed from Monday 20 May for 6 weeks (29th June 2024 ?).   The short section from Barker Tower (at Lendal Bridge) to the Station Rise gate is actually open, BUT there is NO ACCESS beyond that point.

This is for H&S reasons and to allow for the construction of a new retaining wall and rampart following the removal of Queens Street Bridge.

From the CYC Website pages on “York Station Gateway and Queen Street Bridge” =

Activity has been taking place on site. 2 weekend closures in April allowed for the construction of the new temporary road and the removal of parts of Queen Street Bridge. The temporary road is in place while work continues on the project.

For the latest information see CYC web pages = project updates.

Further works

While most of Queen Street Bridge has now been removed, some parts remain in place. The Queen Street approach ramp at the southern end has been left in position, which will act as a piling platform to allow the installation of a contiguous piled retaining wall. This wall will support the embankments and protect the City Walls from any possible movement once the remaining parts of the bridge are removed.

Construction of the piled retaining wall began on Monday 20 May and is expected to take approximately 3  months. At that stage the remainder of the bridge will be removed.

During this time, other parts of the scheme will progress with the contractor Sisk beginning construction of the permanent new road, with improvements to cycling and walking facilities, the new bus interchange and public realm areas.

City walls

Throughout the ongoing Station Gateway works, special care has been taken to monitor and protect the historic City Walls.

The city walls whilst the Station Gateway project progresses

The walls and ramparts are designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. This means they are nationally important, and any works which might have an impact on them will need a special permission, called a Scheduled Monument Consent, from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Historic England acts as an advisor to the DCMS. Their specialist team of inspectors and engineers have been working on this project for several years and have reviewed the proposed works well in advance. A Scheduled Monument Consent was submitted to and agreed by DCMS, allowing the works to be carried out.

A key part of this was the installation of a monitoring system, with monitoring targets being attached to the walls and embankments. This allows the council, Historic England and the contractor to monitor the behaviour of the walls before, during and after the works. Advance works has enabled the team to understand typical wall movement throughout the year and develop a plan to mitigate for any movement during or after the works.

During the Queen Street Bridge demolition works, no movement has been recorded to date.

A section of the City Walls walkway between Micklegate Bar and Station Rise will be closed from Monday 20 May for 6 weeks. This is to allow for the construction of a new retaining wall and rampart following the removal of Queens Street Bridge.


Posted on 10th June 2024   AF

Updated on 18th June 2024


The next FPT Open Day will be on 15th June 2024 –

BUT please note the reduced opening hours = 10:00 to 13:00

Open Days for Fishergate Postern Tower – 2024

Located @  Junction of Piccadilly and Lead Mill Lane  YORK   YO1 9AF

Sat 27th & Sun 28th January = Residents Weekend
Sat 17th February
Sat 9th March
Sat 23rd March
Sat 13th April
Sat 4th & Sun 5th May = May Day BH Weekend
Sat 11th May = Sheriffs Army visit FPT
Sat 25th  May = Spring BH Weekend
Sat 15th June Reduced Opening Hours 10:00 to 13:00
Sat 29th June
Sat 13th July
Sat 27th July 
Sat 10th August
Sat 7th September + Sat 14th September = Heritage Open Days
Sat 28th September
Sat 5th & Sun 6th October = York Unlocked ?
Sat 26th October = Halloween Saturday
Sat 9th November

PLUS other possible dates – check the website for details.

FREE  ENTRY   (but donations are always welcome)

Climb the spiral staircase of this early Tudor tower, work the model portcullis and find a remarkably complete garderobe, masons’  marks, re-used roof beams and our displays, including brand new replicas reborn from fragments found in our recent archaeological dig.

Disabled Access (Partial – ground floor only)

These events are provided by volunteers of The Friends of York Walls.  We are also looking for new Volunteers, new Committee Members and new Trustees.  There would be no pressure for you to devote any more time or effort than you feel comfortable with.  If you are interested, or would like to get involved, please pop along for a chat one open day or email  us at    friendsofyorkwalls@gmail.com

These opening dates of Fishergate Postern Tower are a part of our 2024 season. Check back here to see any last minute changes !

For all 2024 open days please see    HERE

Our 2024 Information Leaflet is available    HERE 

Published 9th January 2024   AF

Updated   9th June   2024  AF


Fishergate Postern Tower will be one of the venues for the York Festival of Ideas 2024.

See the full details of all the events at the Visit York Website   HERE

The full program of all the events is available to download   HERE

One of the many events is being run at Fishergate Postern Tower, and will take place on Saturday 1st June and Saturday 8th June.

At Fishergate Postern Tower =

Come and hunt for masons’ marks in the 500-year-old Fishergate Postern Tower.
We know there are at least 68, so why not see how many you can find?  With four
floors, a spiral staircase and an unusually complete Tudor toilet, there’s plenty for
all the family to explore.

OPEN  Saturday 1 June & Saturday 8th June, from 10am to 1pm 
(FREE but pre-bookable every half hour entry times until 12.30pm)
Location Fishergate Postern Tower, Piccadilly
Free tickets:   yorkfestivalofideas.com

THIS IS A FREE but TICKETED EVENT – PLEASE BOOK YOUR TICKETS via the links on the Visit York Website

The Saturday 1st June “fun & explore slots” are intended as Family Activities, whilst
The Saturday 8th June “workshop slots” are intended more for adults (suitable for ages 14 + ! ).

To book tickets visit  HERE   and   HERE

There are 15 places available each half hour slot – so book soon to avoid disappointment.
If the slot you are looking for is FULL then try looking for all other timed slots throughout both dates.  Sorry – NO ADMISSION without a ticket

This event is provided by The Friends of York Walls and is run by its volunteers.

Posted 22nd May 2024  af