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Moors Messenger May 2021

Moors Messenger May 2011Moors Messenger May 2011


Letter from Tom Hind, Chief Executive

Every Voice Matters

Youth Council

Dark skies: a brighter future

Dark Skies Friendly Lighting

New observatory

For the love of lime

Share with Care

A green recovery

Raving about Riverflies

News in brief

Parish Forums

Dear Residents

Tom Hind by Polly BaldwinAfter a challenging few months, Moors Messenger will land through your door as we emerge from the latest lockdown. It’s been tough for everyone, yet I’ve been amazed by the stoicism and dedication of residents, local businesses and National Park Authority staff alike. 

At a recent Parish Forum meeting I heard the National Park described as a ‘lifeline’ to communities in Teesside because of their ability to access the beautiful and tranquil countryside. This really struck a chord. I know having spoken to many landowners and others just how challenging an influx of visitors can be, but we’re better prepared this year and will be out and about helping to minimise any harm. But at a time when the nation needs to rebuild emotionally as well as economically, I’ve never been more convinced of the role our National Park plays in health and well-being.

The achievement of International Dark Sky Reserve is a major coup and something we should all be proud of. The media interest was unprecedented and I’d like to thank everyone involved for the teamwork that has gone in over many years to enable the National Park to add this significant feather to its cap.

I’d also like to highlight the launch of the next National Park Management Plan. I cannot stress enough how important this work is to the future. We’ve had a great response to our online survey but we’d welcome more input from residents and councils. It will not be easy to navigate the tensions around land use, recreation, tourism and housing, but it’s important we get the key issues on the table at this early stage.

Tom Hind
Chief Executive
(National Park Officer)

Every Voice Matters

Coastal view towards Robin Hood's Bay by Mark Bulmer

Earlier this year the National Park Authority offered an opportunity for members of the public to submit their own opinions about what the North York Moors of the future should look like. What do you want farming, housing, transport and business to look like in twenty years’ time? What sort of place do you want to grow up or grow old in? What’s the correct balance between tourism and nature conservation? If you haven’t yet added your voice to the conversation, the time is now.

During 2021, the North York Moors National Park Authority will be creating a new Management Plan. This is not a document for or about the Authority, but rather the guiding principles for the National Park itself; its landscapes, heritage, wildlife and communities. It will set out a long-term vision for the future, as well as the priority actions needed to get there.

The current Management Plan for the North York Moors most recently underwent revision in 2016; however the aspirational goals that sit at its very heart have remained largely unchanged for more than 20 years. For this reason, the first stage of producing the next Management Plan has been to involve the wider public, so that the shared vision is one that reflects as many different perspectives as possible and is something we can all agree on. That’s the best way to ensure the National Park is passed on to future generations in an even better state.

Tom Hind, Chief Executive of the North York Moors National Park Authority, said:

We’re calling for the public to stand up and have their say. This is your National Park and your thoughts on its future are vital to us.
“As the Authority charged with helping to conserve and promote this special place we’re keen to be ambitious in our work, but the North York Moors is what it is because of you and your families. Generation after generation has helped create this landscape, from moorland, dale and forest to village, farm and field. Its future is in all our hands and together we can plan effectively for the days and years ahead.”

To find out more and to have your voice heard, please visit, to complete a quick survey and sign up to the mailing list. You can also email your thoughts to

Youth Council

The National Park Authority is delighted about the formation of a  new North York Moors Youth Council which will empower young people to speak about issues affecting them in the  National Park.

The Youth Council will help equip young people with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to bring about change, preparing them for an active role as future leaders of protected areas and rural communities.

The Youth Council is being created, run and developed entirely by people aged 11-30. A steering group was established earlier this year, with elections for positions on the Council set to take place in late May/early June. The Council will lead a Youth Voice Platform to engage with the National Park Authority and others, ensuring that the opinions of the younger generation are heard by decision makers. Membership is open to all those of the correct age including National Park apprentices, Young Rangers and existing staff members. The North York Moors Youth Council will also engage with other pre-existing Youth Councils in the region, as well as feeding into conversations happening at a national level.

Young Farmer Kelsey Williamson, who previously worked as an Apprentice with the National Park Authority, said:

“I was keen to be involved with the Youth Council as I believe I can share a variety of views on behalf of young people, including those who live and work in the National Park and those involved in agriculture."

“We are the next generation and I believe we should have an input into the decisions that will affect our own future and the future of the North York Moors.”

If you are interested in being involved in the North York Moors Youth Council, please email The National Park Authority offers lots of different opportunities for young people and for families with young children to get involved with its work. From our Explorer Club to our Young Rangers, our goal is to foster a lifelong connection to this extremely special area. For more information, please visit

Dark skies: a brighter future

Meteor above Helmsley by Steve Bell

In December 2020, the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales national parks were designated International Dark Sky Reserves, joining an exclusive global family of Dark Sky Places.

The glory of our National Parks’ night-time skies will of course come as no surprise to readers of Moors Messenger. Our low levels of light pollution mean that on a clear evening it’s possible to see thousands of stars, the Milky Way, meteors and perhaps even the Northern Lights!

The collaboration between the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales national parks started around five years ago when we decided to run a joint Dark Skies Festival. The initial success of the festival sowed the seed for our continued collaboration, and our coordinated applications now mean that together we have one of the largest uninterrupted areas of protected dark skies in Europe.

In the years leading up to our successful application, we received significant amounts of support from parish councils, local and national organisations (including Forestry England and the National Trust), landowners and individuals. We would like to thank all those who have given us their backing and who continue to strive towards protecting such a rare and sought-after special quality for generations to come.

Dark Skies Friendly Lighting

Light pollution is one of the simplest forms of pollution to solve, with immediate and visible benefits. Moreover, reducing light pollution can have a positive impact, not just on stargazing but also nocturnal wildlife habitats and even human health.

Here are some top tips to help control light pollution in your surroundings:

Is the light needed symbol

Dark sky friendly lighting symbolsLight only where needed

Before installing or replacing a light, consider the purpose of the light and what the impact will be on the surrounding area, including wildlife and neighbours. Could reflective paints or luminous markers be used for marking kerbs, steps and paths?

When artificial light is indeed required, it should be directed only to where it is needed. Consider pointing your floodlights downwards or change to asymmetric downlights to reduce wasted, stray or upward light. If coach-style lights must be used, then follow advice on light levels and colour temperature.

Light only when needed

It is rare that lighting needs to be permanently on. Timers or motion detectors can help ensureight is dimmed when possible and off when not needed. Lighting that uses well-positioned sensors is often better for detecting intruders than lights which permanently show what’s on offer from a distance and create shadows for criminals to lurk in.

Keep light to a suitable level

Light should be no brighter than necessary for the task. For unshielded coach-style lights the level should be a maximum of 500 lumens. For other lights with an operational or safety purpose, two lower-power, shielded, downlights are better than poorly angled high-power lights which simply create glare.

Choose the right colour

Short wavelength (cool blue) light produces more sky glow and is most harmful to wildlife and human health. Select lights or bulbs that are a maximum of 3000 kelvin (k) and preferably 2700k.

For more information on light pollution and home-lighting solutions, you can visit the International Dark-Sky Association website at

New observatory

Dark skies observatory at Sutton Bank National Park CentreSet to be officially launched later this year is our brand new, open-air, Dark Skies Observatory at Sutton Bank National Park Centre. Perfectly located for a spectacular view of the night sky, the purpose-built arena features rotating panels that explain the stars and constellations you can expect to see throughout the year. Funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the new facilities include an all-season nature hub building designed for watching some of the twenty different bird species that live at or pass through Sutton Bank. All of the developments are complemented by a range of habitat-restoration work, including the provision of new ponds. While it will take some time for the greenery to mature, we look forward to the positive impact on our local wildlife.

The North York Moors is in for a busy summer and while this is good news for our local tourism businesses, others will feel concern about the impact of large numbers of visitors - particularly at already popular beauty spots. We love welcoming everyone into the North York Moors, it’s a very special place and perfect for getting closer to nature. However, this year more than ever we’re keen to spread the right messages about how to care for the National Park and share it responsibly.

Across the North York Moors you will see our newly designed ‘Share with Care’ signage, advising visitors on everything from responsible use of trails to considerate parking and of course litter! The National Park social media pages will also be publicising these important messages, and our Rangers and volunteers will be on the ground providing a visible presence. As much as possible we will be encouraging people to explore quieter spots, as well as to always plan ahead and follow any guidance in place. For more information, visit our sharewithcare page.

For the love of lime

Nigel Copsey at workshopSpeaking to anyone who is passionate about what they do is always an inspiring experience, and that’s certainly the case when discussing building conservation with Nigel Copsey, Founder of the Earth, Stone and Lime Company in Thornton le Dale.

Nigel discovered his love for his craft through dry stone walling and the repair of ‘Cornish hedges’ (stone and earth constructions familiar to anyone who has visited the county). Despite living and working across the UK and abroad, a twist of fate brought him to the North York Moors, which he has since discovered to be his ancestral home. Nigel is a world-expert in the use of hot-mixed lime and traditional mortars in historic buildings. Moreover, he has contributed to the rediscovery and revival of these materials, which at one point were overlooked as a vestige of times past. He says:

“Every traditional stone building in the North York Moors was built with either earth mortars in association with hot-mixed lime mortars, or with hot-mixed lime mortars throughout. Yes, they let moisture in - although not nearly as much as most people think - but importantly they also let it out. This was a dynamic system that allowed for capillary movement of water that prevented issues with damp. It’s only since 1900 that we started building houses as sealed boxes, which prevent any exchange of either moisture or air.”

“For too long, people have attempted to ‘fix’ old properties with modern materials, believing them to be superior. But the use of cement mortars, damp-proofing or impermeable insulation materials completely disrupts the natural performance of these buildings and will only ever exacerbate problems. We must let buildings perform as their builders intended.”

One of Nigel’s concerns is that lime has been given a bad name by the use of hydraulic lime. He believes that, if builders could learn the skills and benefits of hot-mixed air lime, then they’d take no persuading when it comes to its use. For this reason, Nigel dedicates significant time to the training of others.

“I want everyone to be an expert and for this knowledge to be shared as widely as possible. If that can be my legacy, I’d be extremely satisfied.”

Nigel’s most recent project in the North York Moors is Spout House, the 16th-century former inn in Bilsdale. The building has been re-thatched (by local thatcher Jonathan Botterell) with Nigel removing cement mortar and replacing it with traditional materials.

Spout House by Mike Kipling

Share with Care

Share with Care posterThe North York Moors is in for a busy summer and while this is good news for our local tourism businesses, others will feel concern about the impact of large numbers of visitors - particularly at already popular beauty spots. We love welcoming everyone into the North York Moors, it’s a very special place and perfect for getting closer to nature. However, this year more than ever we’re keen to spread the right messages about how to care for the National Park and share it responsibly.

Across the North York Moors you will see our newly designed ‘Share with Care’ signage, advising visitors on everything from responsible use of trails to considerate parking and of course litter! The National Park social media pages will also be publicising these important messages, and our Rangers and volunteers will be on the ground providing a visible presence. As much as possible we will be encouraging people to explore quieter spots, as well as to always plan ahead and follow any guidance in place. For more information, visit

Dog poo

Dog poo symbolIt’s unsightly, unpleasant and a potential hazard to both people and livestock. That’s why the National Park Authority is doing all it can to drive home the message that people must pick up their dog’s poo.

Parasites in poo

Neosporosis is a disease caused by a parasite which reproduces in the digestive tract of dogs. The parasite’s eggs are shed in faeces, and can remain alive in the environment for about six months. Cows grazing on land that has been contaminated with dog faeces therefore become infected, commonly resulting in abortion and stillbirth.It’s not just livestock that’s at risk from dog poo. Roundworm parasites called Toxocara also live in the digestive system of dogs. Humans can become infected with toxocariasis if they accidentally ingest any sand or soil that has been contaminated with the parasite’s eggs. This is of particular concern for young children who might be digging on the beach or exploring the countryside. Although rare, once hatched the roundworm larvae can travel around the human body to the major organs or eyes, causing severe illness.

The National Park Authority urges dog owners to always pick up their dog’s mess and dispose of it correctly. Please keep your dog regularly wormed, and remember that arable crops and grass are used for producing food for both people and livestock. Bag your dog mess and take it away with you. Please never throw the bag into trees or bushes.

A green recovery

A failed sapling is replaced on Trennet Bank, BilsdaleYou’ve heard the term, but what is green recovery and what legacy will it have in the North York Moors?

In December, we were successful in securing one of Defra’s first Green Recovery Challenge Fund grants. More than £160,000 was awarded jointly to the National Park Authority and the North York Moors National Park Trust for the restoration and conservation of woodland habitats.

The Fund aims to kick-start green recovery by supporting projects that create nature-based jobs, so that as the economy grows, it does so with a greater emphasis on the environment.

Andy Kearsey, Woodland Restoration Team Supervisor, is one of the new staff members supported by the project.

He said: “If we want young people to be successful in establishing their own rural businesses, then they need not only practical experience, but also commercial acumen and professional contacts. This project aims to help with that, and that’s alongside the significant environmental benefits.”

Employed with Andy are three new Woodland Restoration Workers, all aged under 25 and all in full-time roles created directly by the Fund. Throughout the 15-month project the team will receive training and develop skills which will help them secure similar employment locally or to become self-employed contractors.

Andy continues: “Our primary focus is areas where young trees are at risk of not reaching maturity, meaning they would not become the valuable, species-rich habitats that we all want to see in our National Park. Trees actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so by securing the future of these woods, we’re helping to provide a buffer against climate change.

“We will also be working with our National Park volunteers to remove and recycle over 100,000 now-redundant plastic tree-guards, which are both visually unattractive and a threat to nature if left to break down in the environment.”

To find out more about our woodland work, including grants available for landowners, please visit

Raving about Riverflies


Riverflies is a collective term for three groups of aquatic invertebrates; the Mayflies, Caddisflies and Stoneflies. Along with many other aquatic invertebrates, riverflies are vital for our waterways and are a key link to aquatic food chains. A healthy river system is reflected by the presence and abundance of these riverfly populations.

Riverfly numbers have been declining due to a number of reasons, including habitat loss, pollution events and a build-up of silt from soil erosion. Many ponds have been filled-in over the years and river channels have been straightened, changing their natural habitat. Agricultural run-off can cause nutrient levels in water to become too high, which boosts algae populations and reduces oxygen levels, creating unfavourable conditions for riverflies. Climate change is also playing a role, with prolonged dry weather leading to ‘low flows’.

The Ryevitalise team, along with the Esk Catchment Restoration team, have together recruited over 50 volunteers to gather riverfly information between April and October at sites across the National Park. If riverfly records are below expected, we can flag these concerns to the Environmental Agency for a pollution investigation.

If you would like to help monitor riverflies on the Rye or the Esk, please get in touch – all training and equipment is provided. Contact

Volunteer collecting Riverfly data

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan BalsamOriginally introduced as a garden plant in the 1830s, it grows densely on riverbanks and can reach over two metres in height. It has deep pink flowers shaped like a slipper, 2 to 4cm long, and you will probably smell its sickly sweet scent before you spot it. Each plant produces seed pods which explode when touched, scattering thousands of seeds. The stems are hollow and can easily be snapped. It is a problem because it out-competes native species, but dies back in the autumn, leaving bare riverbanks which are vulnerable to being washed away. The National Park Authority is trying to clear the plant from the river catchments of the Rye and the Esk, starting in early summer before it flowers between June and October. We are asking for your help to spot it, and if you are a landowner in the Rye or the Esk we can arrange to help clear it at no cost to you. Please report sightings on the INNS Mapper website (, or email

News in brief

Tourism Network

Are you a tourism business  and aware of the North York Moors Tourism Network? Sign up to receive support and advice; invitations to marketing workshops and tourism-related events; inclusion in promotional activities and first calls for grant funding opportunities. There’s no fee and it’s a great opportunity to network with other businesses in the industry. Visit for more.

Fun and Games

New family-friendly interactive games are to be unveiled at The Moors National Park Centre this summer. Cast a magnetic fishing road and see what you catch; trace the Atlantic Salmon’s journey upstream on the River Esk; and take the slider-tests to see what you know about the National Park and its past and present.

Volunteering Opportunities

The National Park Authority aims to provide a wide range of opportunities for volunteers to explore and experience the North York Moors throughout the seasons. To find out more about the roles available or our corporate volunteering days, please visit or phone 01439 772700.

Parish  Forums 2021

Venues to be confirmed in line with social distancing restrictions

Northern - Tuesday 5 October

Southern - Thursday 7 October

Western - Tuesday 19 October

Coastal - Monday 25 October

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