Between the cutting of the hay and the first spring flowers, floodplain meadows can look like ordinary grass fields. But visit the riverside Ings now and you will see a spectacular display of wildflowers. Just now, sheets of golden buttercups, bronzy sorrel and pink bistort catch the eye while red clover and yellow rattle make drier areas and floodbanks look like Persian carpets. In a week or two, the creamy white sprays of meadowsweet and the mauve flowers of great burnet will appear en masse. Look out too for the dainty inflorescences of meadow barley and other grasses, the tattered pink flowers of ragged robin and the sulphur-yellow umbels of pepper saxifrage.
Rawcliffe Meadows and Clifton Ings provide a great circular walk at this time of year. Also worth visiting by following riverside public footpaths are the meadows at Fulford Ings, Water Fulford (opposite the Archbishop’s Palace) and South Ings at Acaster Malbis.
To whet your appetite, here are a few photos of Rawcliffe Meadows taken for us a few days ago by landscape photographer Whitfield Benson.
By Martin Hammond (c) 2013