North York Moors

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Woodland near river at Hawnby Hill by Mark AntcliffWoodland near river at Hawnby Hill by Mark Antcliff

Connectivity is about building a coherent and resilient ecological network based on more, better, bigger habitat areas with increased connections between them. The National Park Authority aims to make significant improvements to existing habitat connections across the National Park to ensure that biodiversity and character of the North York Moors continues to strengthen and improved. 

A habitat mapping exercise has been undertaken to establish where there are ‘building blocks’ of existing quality habitat networks in the National Park and these strategic ‘corridors’ are where the Authority is focusing efforts during the next few years, working closely with landowners and managers. The majority of these corridors are through farmland and woodland.

Woodland contributes a great deal to the landscape and wildlife value of the National Park. Existing woodland often needs management to increase conservation benefits.

New native woodland is encouraged in suitable areas of the Park, particularly where there are opportunities to develop woodland habitat networks.

As well as biodiversity networks and landscape enhancement, the benefits of planting new woodland include:

  • Potential for stock shelter, timber or sporting use
  • Increasing the capital value of land and contributing to farm diversification initiatives
  • Using unproductive or problem land 
  • Farm Woodland Payments income

The National Park Authority sees the restoration of ancient woodlands planted with conifers (Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites – PAWS) as a key conservation priority. Planted conifers can restrict and alter the biodiversity of ancient woodland sites which could otherwise be a valuable biodiversity habitat. The Authority works with woodland owners and managers to achieve improvements in management, or restoration where possible. 

For woodland management, new native woodland planting, and PAWS restoration, the Authority is able to provide advice and help for land managers and owners to obtain Forestry Commission grant. Grants are also available directly from the Authority in some circumstances.


Mark Antcliff, Woodland Officer
T: 01439 772700