Over the 24 years of our existence the Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows have had several different sets of signage or interpretation on the site. The first experience was of a relatively lightweight board by the pond that was vandalised the day it was concreted in. The second was a very elegant solid oak joiner-made board, again by the pond, that lasted a good few years until heavy flooding followed by extremer vandalism did for it. During the lifetime of the second board City of York Council supplied some interpretation boards as a part of their Rawcliffe Bar Park and Ride development – these faded in the sunlight and flooding and fell apart eventually.
So, for the past few years we have been looking for funding but now have a little set aside for two interpretation boards, including a lockable A4 window for notices. We plan to place one by the pond at the south of the site, and the other at the crossroads with the path from Shipton Road at the northern end. Is this what users would want? What information do users think should be on there? There are obviously wildlife notes, and species to look out for, that could be included with pictures, but what about information about the Ings themselves, their history and purpose, including their modern purpose as flood reservoirs?
Instead of the standard upright board we also plan to have them as lower, lectern-style boards that may be read from a range of heights, and may be less resistant to the drag of the floods as the water fills and later empties from the site. We’d be interested to find out what site users think is of most use without facing them with too many words. We’d also like to remind visitors that it is a SSSI, an agricultural site, a flood reservoir etc which is not owned or funded by the City of York Council but gains its main funding from an EU agricultural scheme, care of the Rural Payments Agency.