Cyclists travelling into or out of northern York along the N65 cycle route between Clifton Ings and the York Outer Ring-Road may have been concerned recently by the amount of motorised activity occurring on Rawcliffe Meadows. First of all in May contractors for Yorkshire Water started work replacing the sewer pipe between the former Clifton Hospital site and the Water Treatment Works at Rawcliffe which had started to leak regularly, they issued a press release about this and details were published here under Waste Water Pipe Replacement. Then in June the Environment Agency EA started repairs to a section of the flood barrier bank above the meadows, which had slipped when water was let out after 2012’s floods. Unfortunately, they found more underground than they had bargained for, resulting in additional work and extra material being shipped in for the bank.
Along with all this was the regular July hay cut of the Meadows and Cornfield, which was cut, baled and removed as quickly as it usually is to prevent an issues, which just meant more tractors! In the last few weeks the Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows (FoRM) have recommenced recreating the New Meadow, which was damaged by one of the aforementioned sewage leaks and the repair of which is being assisted by Yorkshire Water. The repairs originally started in autumn 2012 but flooding destroyed the work done up until then, so machines to plough and power-harrow had to return and redo the work, along with delivering two bales of green hay from Clifton Ings, which were spread by volunteers on the 4th August. This will then be rolled into the disturbed ground in due course.
So, how much longer will all this traffic occur? The Environment Agency (EA) have informed us they will complete by the end of August. The contractors for Yorkshire Water said 20 weeks from commencement which suggests sometime in October (due to the belated started), and the FoRM are probably back to manual labour and making sure the cattle are happy when they are finally allowed to graze. In addition, Yorkshire Water, courtesy of their contractors are assisting us with a number of projects that include providing interpretation on the area, making more habitats for tansy beetles, along with investigating a sand martin bank, but none of these projects should involve large vehicles, although repairs will be needed both to the meadow area and the cycle track as a result of the earlier mentioned works by the EA, and these might. The EA are also planning to cut back the hedge at the toe of the barrier bank and erect a stock-proof fence along the boundary line, so they may have some vehicles back on the top of the bank.
Altogether a busy 2013! The good news is that Rawcliffe and Clifton should be secure from floods, and there should be no sewage on Rawcliffe Meadows or nearby.