Iconic Hills and Uplands
Dorothy Fairburn NSch
M. 07939 288927
The uplands of Britain are rare and cherished landscapes which have been formed in large part by generations of agricultural endeavour. Livestock farming is an intrinsic part of the upland landscape, which is also the home to a rich diversity of wildlife and a wealth of history and culture. Our visits on June 10th will take you through some of the Yorkshire Dales’ iconic landscapes, finishing with dinner in the stunning ruins of Fountains Abbey.
An early start by coach will take delegates on a fascinating day-long tour exploring the breathtaking Yorkshire Dales National Park. Made famous the world over by TV vet James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small” (1978-1984), this iconic landscape features solitary field barns surrounded by flower-rich hay meadows and bordered by miles of dry stone walls.
These treasured landscapes, which are internationally recognised, have been formed by centuries of intervention by livestock farmers who remain responsible for the stewardship of the bulk of the upland landscapes and habitats. Farmers and their families are also at the heart of all the activities that take place in these fragile and remote areas, playing a pivotal role in rural communities, by way of employment, their contributions to the rural economy and their social networks.
Our farm visits will take delegates to the top of the Dales where beef and sheep are the only options, and farming would not exist without EU support.
Time will be spent in small groups with individual farmers to learn first-hand about the challenges and hardships they face farming in the remote Dales and under the constraints of the National Park. This will be contrasted with the visit to Metcalfe Farms (www.metcalfefarms.com) at Leyburn, just outside the Park boundary, with its 900 cows, 900 ewes, a 200 KW AD plant, contracting and a haulage business - all on a scale unimaginable by farmers inside the National Park.
Grouse shooting is a major land use in the upper Dales. It makes a massive contribution to the upland economy (with a turnover of £15m in England alone) and is responsible for the management of the purple, heather-clad moors. Delegates will visit Grinton Moor, overlooking Swaledale, where Des Coates, Head Keeper to The Earl Peel (who is Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household) for over 35 years, will explain the international importance of the sport and how positive management of the heather benefits grouse, sheep and important wader birds.
Our return journey to York will be broken by a visit to the magnificent Fountains Abbey, a Grade I listed building owned by the National Trust and part of a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The setting of the ruins is enhanced by the beauties of the adjacent Georgian Water Gardens. Delegates will spend a glorious June evening strolling around the Abbey and water garden before enjoying a glass of wine (or Yorkshire beer!) and supper amongst the ruins.
York City can keep even the most determined sightseer occupied for weeks. Attractions include York Minster, one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals, plus the art gallery, museum and the City Walls. Alternatively, take a Yorkboat tour along the magnificent River Ouse, explore the streets by foot on ‘The Bloody Tour of York’, or simply enjoy some retail therapy down the ‘Shambles’ with its unique shops. (www.visityork.org)