Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows logoRawcliffe Meadows, along with the Clifton and Rawcliffe Ings, is part of the Ouse Ings floodplain to the north of the City of York in the UK (and provide an essential part in preventing it from flooding). It was notified in 2013 as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Friends Of Rawcliffe Meadows have managed that part of the Ings since late in 1990. The site provides for a range of plant, bird, animal and insect life, some of which are rare, and limited to such disappearing landscapes. You can find how to get to us here.

Whilst the site is notified for its nationally important population of Tansy Beetles and the MG4 (Meadow Foxtail/Great Burnet) grassland, there is much else to be seen throughout the year. Natural England’s SSSI notification.

Rawcliffe Meadows is proud to be a member of the Tansy Beetle Action Group and one of the Freshwater Habitats Trust Flagship Pond sites. We are also a Buglife Urban Buzz Flagship site.freshwater-habitats


Find out more about the Friends, and the Meadows, by following the links on the right of this page. Our latest posts containing news and events are below this Welcome. We are also on Facebook.

Feel free to Sign up to our mailing list so that you don’t miss out on future happenings. We look forward to seeing you!

Rawcliffe Meadows 2013 (c) Whitfield Benson

Rawcliffe Meadows 2013 (c) Whitfield Benson

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Report on Rawcliffe Meadows Work Party 18th Feb 2018

Thanks to Pete & Jason, Mark & Julie, Judi, Masha, Claudia and new helpers Helen and Richard, along with Don our contractor, who were helping us finish off the hedgelaying of the Blue Beck Copse boundary we’d started on the 7th January. Again, we had excellent weather if a little muddy underfoot on the eastern side of the hedge.

Whilst some carried on with the laying at the southern end, others started to bind the top of the hedge in the tradition of a Midlands’ layed hedge. Everyone was so carried away that work carried on until after 2 pm, finishing the job and making sure that all had a go at learning the various techniques.

There are a few little tidying tasks to complete in the Copse but volunteers will be doing that on other occasions before the bird nesting season. The Blackthorn and brambles in the Reservoir Basin were also cut back ready for the orchids to pop up.

In March we’ll also be planting some more Hazel along the northern hedge line, and in the now more open copse but before then on Sunday 25th February from 10:30 we’ll be coppicing the willow, and some hazel, surrounding the Pond at the south of the site to allow more light for the tansy plants there.

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Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows Activities First Half 2018

After some to-ing and fro-ing, and changes and thinking I believe we have a list of dates and activities for the work parties on Rawcliffe Meadows from Jan 2018 (just for retrospective reference) to July 2018.

There may be some tweaking of the list as we are hoping to have a walk about and think in late March to see if the priorities alter as things grow.

I spoke with the Environment Agency on the 11th January and they currently believe their flood defence works will start in April 2019, although they can’t confirm what the options, hopefully for consultation, are. We are pressing them for a meeting as soon as possible because this obviously affects our plans and funding, but they were talking late March! Our belief is that their approach, as is enshrined in legislation, should be to:

1) consult on the Scoping Opinion for the Environmental Assessment, so that interested parties can agree on what information needs to be gathered

2) carry out data search and conduct the surveys identified as necessary at stage (1)

3) review the data and design the development based on the findings of (2)

4) proceed to planning application and publish Environmental Statement based on (3)

But they are running 18 projects relating to York flooding and they impact on each other too!

Month Sun Thurs Task
Jan 2018 7 Lay Blue Beck Copse. May run on after 1 pm.
Feb 2018 18
  1. Finish laying Blue Beck Copse hedge and cut back outside suckers. Fence to be repaired.
  2. Cut back blackthorn in Reservoir Basin (northern and eastern banks) to create more space and light for expansion of orchids
  25 Coppice willow and hazel near Pond at south of site
Mar 2018 18 Interplant Blue Beck Copse northern hedge with hazel and plant more hazel in Copse
  25 Flood debris clearance
April 2018 15 Attend to saplings in Cricket Field Copse and tidy any brash. Repair fence and stile.
May 2018 17 Bee bank management
June 2018 7 Clearing around tansy plants – Pond and nearby
  18th – 24th June National Insect Week
  24 Clearing around tansy plants – New Meadow and nearby
July 2018 Sat 7th July – National Meadows Day
  5 Clearing around tansy plants – Pond and nearby
  22 Clearing around tansy plants – New Meadow and nearby

Hoping for lots of help on February 18th as we need to complete two tasks before birds start nesting.

Apologise for any clashes with RSPB outings but we’re both obviously trying to avoid other events.

May be some variation in tasks due to water levels. Sunday work parties from 10:30 am until about 13:00pm. Thursday from 6:30 pm until dark

Volunteers are always welcome anytime to keep site safe, clean and secure.


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Report on the Rawcliffe Meadows Work Party 7th January 2018

The conservation gods had the sun shining on us and the water levels not reaching our base for an amazing Sunday work party. Don had brought loads of tools and a wealth of experience to help us lay the eastern hedge of the Blue Beck Copse that we had planted in the mid-1990’s along with Blue Beck Copse. The Copse has been coppiced regularly and looks well, along with being excellent bird habitat. The plants that composed the hedge were turning into trees and with the decaying fence stock and humans were starting to get into the area, which we don’t really want. So we had arranged with Don to lead a session in laying the hedge

Don gave a brief introduction to the methods and tools to be employed along with some health and safety advice given the sharp tools being employed and people set to work.

Despite an excellent attendance, there being Ruben & Claudia, Matt and Gabbie, Mark and Julie, Pete and Jason, Ron, Judi, Mark A, Mark T and Mick, as well as Don, we didn’t quite  finish off the biding of the hedge, along with cutting off the suckers at the front so this will now be done on February 18th, along with ensuring it is stock-proof all the way along.

A big thanks to our enthusiastic volunteers and Don for teaching and supervising everyone. There are more photo’s that the volunteers have posted on FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/rawcliffemeadows/

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Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows “Happy New Year” Work Party Sunday 7th Jan 2018 10:30 am

On Sunday 7th Jan 2018 we’ve asked Don Davies to come along and help/advise us how to lay the eastern hedge alongside Blue Beck Copse at the north of the site, where the outlet pops out under that Barrier Bank from Blue Beck as it leads towards the Ings Dyke. We’ll be starting at 10:30 but due to the amount of work it may run on later than usual to 2 or 3 pm. It, as usual, will be water level dependent! It is boggy generally in that area so wellies and gloves advisable! We planted the Copse and hedge in the last Century and have done some work in managing it but it’s now ripe for laying. Don layed the adjacent New Meadow hedge a couple of years ago. A map is here https://wp.me/P1rSnY-27

The Annual Report is in preparation, along with a list of tasks for 2018 and a calendar of dates but this could be a decisive year for the site as the Environment Agency are in the design phase for the Barrier Bank through the Meadows and the pumping station at that point http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/15789966.__45m_city_flood_defence_work_to_start_in_2018/ – we hope to hear from them soon in January as to what mitigation they are planning for the damage they’ll do to the SSSI.

Any last minute records for the 2017 wildlife report will be gratefully received by Martin.

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Tansy Beetle Time – Well Almost

In preparing for Tansy Beetle time we’ve taken to heart a suggestion by a member of the Natural England Field Unit that visited a few weeks ago and purchased this clever little device, a 4 in 1 soil survey instrument, that reads the temperature, pH, sunlight and moisture of the soil it is inserted into. Thus, when counting and observing Tansy Beetles we have the opportunity to add some possibly relevant data to the record.  We’re looking forward to using this in March when we observe the first Tansy Beetles making their way from below ground. Thank you Santa, and thank you Natural England for the idea!


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Rawcliffe Meadows 2017 Annual Report – Records Wanted

Records are a bit thin on the ground this year. If anyone has any they haven’t yet submitted please let us know.

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Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows Christmas Quiz 2017

  1. What year (and for bonus point, month) was Rawcliffe Meadows, along with Clifton Ings designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)?
  2. What year (and for a bonus point, month) did work really start on Rawcliffe Meadows?
  3. Where was the launch meeting of the Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows held?
  4. Rawcliffe Meadows is designated a SSSI for a particular beetle, the Tansy Beetle, what other threatened beetle species is also found there?
  5. Along with the Tansy Beetle the Meadows are designated as SSSI for a grassland type it has known as MG4. What do the M and G stand for?
  6. Since 1991 the main source of funding for Rawcliffe Meadows has been what?
  7. What year what the Cornfield Nature Reserve created?
  8. We used to hold meetings at the Dormouse pub, along with getting press coverage at the launch, what year was that?
  9. Who owns Rawcliffe Meadows?
  10. Why was Rawcliffe Meadows created?
  11. What was Rawcliffe Meadows called before York Natural Environment Trust (YNET) took it over?
  12. What area is Rawcliffe Meadows, without Cornfield and Copse Meadow? (Hectares or acres)?

All the answers should be available on the web site but sometimes in PDF documents like the Annual Reports!

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