Theoretically October 2015 will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of York Natural Environment Trust taking on a piece of land to the east of Clifton Ings, that we named Rawcliffe Meadows.
When surveyed in 1990 the vegetation was species-poor Yorkshire Fog – Tufted Hair-grass pasture with very extensive stands of Creeping Thistle covering more than 20% of the area! Within four or five years it was producing a good hay crop and in 2013 was proposed, along with Clifton Ings, over the Ings Dyke, as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for the MG4 grassland and significant population of the endangered Tansy Beetle. In 2015 the Freshwater Habitats Trust listed it as a ‘Flagship’ site for the quality of the ponds – none of which existed prior to 1990.
The plant list has some 317 species, including some rare ones. Amonst the breeding birds thre are at least nine of conservation concern, and the list of invertebrates has 574 beetle species recorded (just over 14% of the total British list).
The site has a healthy mammal population, good management having encouraged the return of the water vole that had disappeared in 2003.
So, how should we celebrate our silver anniversary? A party (with old colleagues invited)? Have some more events in 2016 (we had quite a few in 2016)? Any other ideas, or offers of help to organise, greatly appreciated (please use the form below)