Within the 554 square miles of the North York Moors National Park is a variety of scenery rarely encountered within one region. Picturesque villages, high undulating moorland (the most extensive tract of heather moor in England and Wales), remote dales and a coastline of dramatic ruggedness provide the landscape for an active rural community of some 23,500 residents.
In addition, there are some 12.3 million day visits per annum and tourism is very important to the local economy. One of the prime duties of the National Park Authority is to maintain a balance between the often conflicting demands of landscape and wildlife conservation on the one hand with growing social, economic and recreational pressures on the other. Where there is a conflict between conservation and recreation, conservation must by statute take precedence.
The North York Moors were designated a National Park principally to conserve the heather moorland and associated habitats which comprise 35% of the National Park's area, but also to encompass attractive traditional farmland and villages, broadleaved woodland and 42 km of coastline. Woodland covers approximately 22% of the National Park, with nearly three quarters of this accounted for by coniferous plantations.
The Forestry Commission, through Forest Enterprise England, owns or leases about 16% of the National Park area. This includes the major commercial conifer plantations and recreational resource of Dalby and Cropton forests. The dominant landowning interest in the moorland is through large privately owned estates.
National Park Authority - Owned Land
The National Park Authority owns less than 3% of the National Park. This is principally the Levisham Estate (1,400 hectares) north of Pickering. This Estate was acquired between 1975 and 1988 principally to save the moorland from being ploughed. It contains a diverse range of habitats and is valuable in both conservation and recreation terms. While the estate is predominately moorland, approximately 200ha is woodland and grassland.
The Authority operates two Visitor Centres at Sutton Bank and Danby (The Moors Centre). The latter is held on a lease from the Dawnay Estate and the site at Sutton Bank is owned by the Authority. In addition the Authority owns various car parks and public toilets across the National Park, the Cawthorn Camps Roman site and some smaller sites of recreational value. A list of properties is attached.
The National Park has, since 1 April 1997, been administered by the North York Moors National Park Authority. Membership of the Authority is made up of local councillors, parish members and people appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. There are 20 members drawn from:
North Yorkshire Council
Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council
Secretary of State - Parish Members
Secretary of State - Appointed Members
The National Park Officer and staff advise the National Park Authority on policy and carry out its decisions. The management team comprises the Chief Executive (National Park Officer), four directors and heads of department.
Salaries over £50,000
The North York Moors National Park Authority staff earning over £50K per annum are;
Tom Hind (CEO)
Briony Fox (Director of Conservation and Climate Change)
Chris France (Director of Planning)
Joel Brookfield (Director of Recreation and Wellbeing)
Ian Nicholls (Director of Corporate Services).