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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Rawcliffe Meadows Activities – first half 2019

Month Sun Thurs Task
Jan 2019 13   Cut back blackthorn in Reservoir Basin (northern and eastern banks) to create more space and light for expansion of orchids
Feb 2019 17   Attend to saplings in Cricket Field Copse and tidy any brash. Repair fence and stile.
  24   Coppice blackthorn, willow and hazel near Pond at south of site. Scrub cut pond banks.
Mar 2019 17   Cut off fallen chestnut by Ings Dyke and remove blackthorn suckers
  24   Flood debris clearance
April 2019 14   To be agreed
May 2019   16 Bee bank management
June 2019   6 Clearing around tansy plants – Pond and nearby
  23   Clearing around tansy plants – New Meadow and nearby
July 2019     Sat 6th July – National Meadows Day
    4 Clearing around tansy plants – Pond and nearby
  21   Clearing around tansy plants – New Meadow and nearby

May be some variation 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 Rawcliffe Meadows Work Party 9th December 2018

Thanks to Judi, Masha, Mark A and Mick for venturing out on an excellent December day to try and sort out the various saplings that were suckering out of Blue Beck Copse towards the cycle track and that we hadn’t dealt with when laying the hedge earlier in the year.

The four of us managed to cut back all the saplings including some turning into trees and dispose of the brash. There were some fungi to be seen but the spots of the day went to Masha who saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker above us and another nearby over the Reservoir Basin.

One can actually seen the layed hedge in all its glory now, alongside the fast collapsing post and wire fence that once secured Blue Beck Copse.

The next work party is not until January 13th 2019 when we’ll be cutting back blackthorn suckers in the Reservoir Basin to keep it clear for the orchids.

Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year!

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Update #1 on Environment Agency Clifton Ings Flood Alleviation Scheme 30th Nov 2018

The Environment Agency are progressing with a planning submission which they hope to submit in December 2018 with a hope of starting on site in June/July 2019.

Phasing of construction:


  • Site access and access road to be created from Shipton Road onto a compound area to be built on Cornfield Grassland/Arable
  • North extension through Rawcliffe Bar Country Park
  • Pumping Station on the embankment at Blue Beck
  • South extension in Homestead Park
  • Raising embankment in Homestead Park and private house adjacent Clifton Sports Club.


  • Embankment raising from Blue Beck through to Clifton Sports Club

In terms of closing areas this means we could leave Rawcliife Meadows open during 2019 albeit with a fenced area around the pumping station site.

We may install the temporary  Sustrans diversion in 2019 too in readiness for a restart in the 2020 earthworks season.

During 2020 we would close access to Rawcliffe Meadows for the general public.

The above is all obviously subject to planning consent, weather and any other unforeseen events…

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Rawcliffe Meadows 2018 Annual Report – Records Wanted

With us being distracted by the Barrier Bank developments and a range of other issues records may be a bit thin on the ground. So if you have any that you haven’t already submitted to someone please let us know by January 2019.

Next working party Sunday 9th December 10:30 onwards by Blue Beck Copse to attack the blackthorn suckers there and further on in the main meadow – subject, of course, to water levels!

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The York Flood Alleviation Scheme: Proposals for Clifton and Rawcliffe Public Drop-in on the 3rd December

Date:  20th November 2018

Dear FoRM member

The York Flood Alleviation Scheme: Proposals for Clifton and Rawcliffe Public Drop-in on the 3rd December at York Sports Club, 2pm to 7pm

I am writing to invite you to a public drop-in where we will display information about future flood alleviation works in the Clifton and Rawcliffe area. The event will be held on Monday 3rd of December at York Sports Centre, Clifton Park, Shipton Rd, York YO30 5RE.

Following the flooding of winter 2015, the Environment Agency was allocated £45 million to better protect properties in York. Since then we have been working to develop plans for areas of the city affected by flooding.

This is a drop-in style event and you are welcome to arrive at any time between 2pm and 7pm. We will have displays showing our plans for improvements to flood defences in the area and you can meet staff from the project team to ask questions or raise issues.

If you are unable to attend, you can find out more information about our plans by coming to the York Flood Hub on Wellington Row in the centre of York where we will have displays on Clifton Ings until the end of January 2019 (open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 4pm).   We will also post the information displayed at the drop-in on our Citizen Space information page for Clifton and Rawcliffe at: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/yorkshire/yorkfascliftonandrawcliffe

If you have any questions please contact us at yorkfloodplan@environment-agency.gov.uk.

Yours sincerely

Richard Lever

Project Lead for the York Flood Alleviation Scheme


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Report on Rawcliffe Meadows Work Party 11th November 2018

The Allotment Track Hedge November 2018

Despite the clash with Remembrance Sunday and the dismal weather six brave souls turned up to help. The task was to remove to the posts and barbed wire on the southern side of the track from the allotments overlooking the Reservoir Basin. There were some questions as to why this was being done but an explanation soon sorted things out.

When the Friends took over the site in 1990 there were no trees along the track, just a few bushes.

Reservoir basin 1991

Reservoir basin 1991

Reservoir basin 1991

Reservoir basin 1991

The few shrubs visible in the 1991 photos had been planted as an experiment by the National Rivers Authority (precursor of the Environment Agency- EA) a few years earlier but we have no idea why.

In the couple of years that followed many trees were planted including a number of Field Maples on the northern side of the track, along with the odd one plus a range of Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Holly and other species on the southern side. The line of these on the southern bank were protected within a barbed wire enclosure.

Twenty six years on we have a very thick hedge that is a magnet for wild birds. However to prevent it growing into the track or turning into a line of trees we regularly get our farmer to cut it back with a flail mower. We have now reached a stage where the old post and wire fence is a hindrance to the tractor and for the most part no longer required so we intended to pull it out. Unusually they must have been good quality posts because few had rotted and the staples holding the wire were still firmly embedded, even after 25 years!

However, with the help of Ruben, Mark A, Julie and Mark, Judi and Mick we finished the task and the hedge is now ready to be flailed.

We have our meeting on Tuesday 13th November 6:30 – 9:30 at the Youth Hostel to discuss the EA plans but the next work party is on the 9th December 2018 to cut back Blacthorn suckers in front of the newly layed hedge outside Blue Beck Copse from 10:30 onward.

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Scoping Opinion in Respect of Flood Defence Works at Clifton Ings Barrier Bank

On the 19th September 2018 the City of York Council published its Scoping Opinion with regard to the works likely to seriously affect Rawcliffe Meadows. The full report is on the Councils website here.

The Council’s appraisal does state that “Consultation feedback provided to date challenges the current justification for the flood defence works as proposed and whether the mitigation will be adequate. These issues should be addressed in the EIA“.

Our thanks to those who responded to the consultation.



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