Reports on Ings History Walk 20th June and Rawcliffe Meadows Work Party 22nd June 2017

Fifteen people appeared magically for the walk around Clifton Ings and Rawcliffe Meadows led by Martin Hammond on the evening of 20th June. Luckily a combination of dry weather and not excessive heat made for a comfortable time.

The group first crossed from Rawcliffe Meadows onto Rawcliffe Ings, then onto Clifton Ings taking the path along the flood bank until they took the desire line back across to the Ings Dyke to cross back on Rawcliffe Meadows and the cycle track.

The group were told about the role of the Ings in history, along with various amusing anecdotes. They were also introduced to their botany and importance as some of the few remaining examples of flood meadows in the UK.

In passing, the small group of bee orchids at the north of the site had just about survived whilst not expanded.

On Thursday 22nd Pete, Mark A, Judi and Mick were back tackling the vegetation around the Pond competing with the tansy plants.

The tansy plants on the northern mound had been aggressively chewed to pieces by the Tansy Beetles and their larvae whilst plants on the southern mound remained fairly healthy but still had many beetles. The team also trimmed around plants nearby at the Ings Dyke and Cricket Field Copse – the plants by the dyke being also well eaten and still having Tansy Beetles including one self-sown plant that had beetles and larvae.

There was also plenty of knapweed and great burnet in flower.


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Report on the Rawcliffe Meadows Work Party Sunday 11th June 2017

The Rawcliffe Meadows work party on Sunday 11th June 2017 started at 10:30 on the banks of the New Meadow. The plan had been to manage vegetation competing with the tansy plants but this was taken a stage further in that some of the plants had started to brown off and were clearly hosts to a lot of black-fly. On this basis a decision was made to cut into the clumps that were affected but as Tansy Beetles were still active, leave the cuttings. There were only three off us (Judi, Mitch and Mick) so Judi and Mitch did the finer work whilst Mick cut back the Himalayan Balsam, hogweed and creeping thistle that were there, by the cattle grid, on the Reservoir Basin bank and along the southern bank of Blue Beck. A solitary Tansy Beetle was spotted on the plants near the cattle grid but none along Blue Beck unfortunately, although the plants there are doing well finally.

A very dark Tansy Beetle was on one of the New Meadow plants.

The next work party is on Thursday 22nd June at 6:30 by the Pond, tending to the tansy plants there and along the Ings Dyke, and (if we have enough volunteers) clearing a way into the Cricket Field Copse.

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The Story of the Ouse Ings – a guided walk Tue 20th June 2017 at 6:30


You’re probably aware that the remaining Ings meadows along the River Ouse are an important part of York’s natural environment. But these grasslands can also tell us fascinating stories about how local people used the resources around them. Perhaps harvested for hay since Roman times, the Ings were features of the Anglo-Saxon landscape and highly-valued throughout the medieval period. Such was the value of these meadows that elaborate customs developed to ensure their equitable and sustainable management. Clifton Ings has a particularly rich history: as well as its agricultural heritage, it played a role in the foundation of St Mary’s Abbey, the Civil War siege of York and the establishment of York Races.

Martin Hammond, author of the recently published  “Deep Meadows and Transparent Floods – The Story of the Ouse Ings” will be leading a walk looking at the landscape and social history of Clifton Ings and Rawcliffe Meadows on Tuesday 20th June, starting at 6.30 PM. This is a free event, though a small contribution to Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows is always welcome! The walk will be approximately 3.5 km (2.25 miles), starting at the northern end of Rawcliffe Meadows, meeting at the interpretation board at the end of the track though the Allotments on Shipton Road, York.

There may be a small number of copies of his book for sale, if they haven’t sold out!

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Report on the Rawcliffe Meadows Work Party 25th May 2017

Thanks to Judi for coordinating this management of competing vegetation by the Pond and along Ings Dyke.

Masha took some excellent evening photographs of the Meadows, Tansy Beetles and some of the volunteers having a well-earned break.

Our next planned work party is Sunday July 11th from 10:30 am at New Meadow where we’ll be managing competing vegetation with the tansy at the northern end of the site. Hopefully we will have replaced the stolen tools by then!

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Report on the Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows Work Party 18th May 2017 at New Meadow

Apologies to anyone who went to the Pond last night, for some reason I was at the New Meadow but Pete and Masha, along with new volunteers Ruben and Mitchell managed to find me, and we got on top of the New Meadow Tansy Beetle enclosure, and saw plenty of Tansy Beetles. Having moved house, passed the YNET accounts to the auditors, started claiming for the shed break-in. along with thinking about repairs and replacements I might calm down, once the election is over…

There were still large patches of hogweed (not the giant variety) trying to reclaim the edge of the New Meadow but the main threats to humans were the clegs and midges (we would recommend anyone sensitive to cover up and take antihistamines in advance).

I won’t be at the Pond next Thursday but Judi will, and weather dependent I will have been down and strimmed (using the one from home) to make life easier. Thursday evening 25th May from 6:30 – cut back vegetation around tansy plants near Pond and fenced-in section of Ings Dyke bank where competing (at south of site). We still have to replace stolen tools so hedge shears might be helpful.

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Tool theft from the Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows April 30 2017

As well as stealing a substantial number of tools from the Clifton Without and Rawcliffe Allotments Association, the thieves involved in this also stole tools from the Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows (FoRM), including a Stihl FS 250 scrub cutter serial number 162007853 and has stickers on relating to its purchase and maintenance by Harland of Green Hammerton.

It appears to have made little difference that the equipment was DotPeen’d by North Yorkshire Police in summer 2016 following the previous break-in to the FoRM shed with our name upon it. The Police crime number is 130.

The scrub cutter was an essential piece of management equipment for the care of the nationally important population of Tansy Beetles, along with general site maintenance.

The estimated cost of replacing the tools and shed fittings in material terms is £765 plus an awful lot of effort in re-fitting, insurance claim and buying replacements.

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Deep Meadows and Transparent Floods – The Story of the Ouse Ings

There is something almost magical about floodplain meadows, whether it is the evocative bubbling of a Curlew high in the sky and often out of sight, jewels such as York’s own Tansy Beetle, the endangered Necklace Ground-beetle or the stunning array of herbs
in the sward which seems to stretch for miles. ln combination these make for a fantastic resource we should treasure and protect for future generations. Those of us who love wildlife-rich places need to step up and ensure that they are not lost on our watch.

This book tells the story of the floodplain meadows along the River Ouse as it runs through the Vale of York. The Ouse lngs have a rich social history, reflecting the high economic value of these meadows to the local community, as well as a rich and diverse wildlife assemblage.

This significant piece of work sees a substantive amount of research incorporated into a very readable format, which makes available to scholars and the lay people alike, fascinating information about the floodplain meadows of the River Ouse.

This book has been published and financially supported by the Carstairs Countryside Trust, May 2017 with funds from Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows and the Floodplain Meadows Partnership. It  is a glossy 100 A4 page paperback with beautiful colour illustrations.

This book can be ordered from Ouse lngs publication offer (CCT)
c/o Autumn Cottage,
Thorne Road,

Please make cheques for £5 plus p&p £3.00 (2nd class) or £3.50 (1st class) payable to Carstairs Countryside Trust

The book is in a limited edition and the Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows have a small stock available at work parties.

A leaflet on the book can be downloaded here – Ouse Ings PDF

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