Driffield News

Why have some beauty spots been left off the map?

Residents living in parts of Driffield and the Wolds are being urged to air their views after the majority of the area was omitted from a section of the Yorkshire Wolds that has been considered for an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Earlier this month, the Yorkshire Wolds was confirmed as a provisional candidate area by Natural England for the designation and a public consultation exercise is ongoing.

However, after initial excitement about the benefits of the Yorkshire Wolds joining areas such as the North York Moors National Park and Howardian Hills as an AONB, there are now fears that Driffield – the Capital of the Wolds no less – and a large number of its surrounding villages will miss out after not being included on Natural England’s proposed map.

People can give their views on the designation of the Yorkshire Wolds as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty via:

● Online form – https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/9a9e1001ff6a4382834dffe95f2f133f

● Mobile app – The ArcGIS Survey123 mobile app can be downloaded by the Apple Store and Google Play

● Paper pack – Email evidence@yorkshire-wolds-designation-project.org or write to Yorkshire Wolds Designation Project, c/o Resources for Change, Cwrt Isaf Farmhouse, Llangattock, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1PH

Although Sledmere, Fimber, Fridaythorpe, Huggate, Warter and Thixendale are part of the designation, there are several other notable absences:

● The Driffield Navigation

● Several sections of the Great Wold Valley, included the Gypsey Race, which runs through Burton Fleming and Rudston before emptying its waters in Bridlington Harbour

● Rudston Monolith, the tallest standing stone in the UK

● Willy Howe, a large round barrow that lies between Wold Newton and Thwing

● Fordon, one of the smallest villages in England

Concerns have also been raised that the proposal for the AONB is largely in North Yorkshire despite Driffield Town Council, other parish councils and East Riding of Yorkshire Council throwing their weight behind it.

The mayor of Driffield, Cllr Mark Blakeston, told the Wolds Weekly that people need to make themselves heard to ensure the Capital of the Wolds makes the cut.

“The Yorkshire Wolds is a predominantly agricultural area where farmers work alongside ancient habitats, woodland, rolling dry valleys, chalk streams and coastal landscapes, all of which provide a high-quality wildlife resource,” said Cllr Blakeston.

“I’m pleased that this opportunity to recognise the Wolds as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has come about and the consultation process is vitally important to ensure opinions from everyone who works and lives on the Wolds is heard.

“As the historic Capital of the Wolds, I’d like to see Driffield included in the footprint of the AONB as I think it’s important for the designation to have an anchor market town.

“Also, and as we’ve learned over the past couple of years, it’s hugely beneficial for people to have access to the countryside but to get the balance of agriculture, nature and people right needs careful management and I believe AONB status will help with this.”

Echoing the words of Cllr Blakeston, Driffield town clerk Claire Binnington said: “Driffield Town Council understands that the initial proposal of the AONB does not include Driffield, Market Weighton, Pocklington or indeed Flamborough and areas in between that are of considerable natural beauty.

“This period of consultation is crucial and we urge residents to get involved and request that our beautiful countryside that surrounds Driffield and the town itself be included.”

Cllr Jonathan Owen, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council said: “We are keen to see a substantial part of the Yorkshire Wolds designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We would encourage people in the area and beyond to engage in the engagement process with Natural England and put forward their views.”

Consultation drop-in sessions have been held in Driffield, Weaverthorpe, Kilham and Kirkburn.
However, after less than a dozen people went along to Kirkburn, Philip Ashcroft, chair of the parish council, criticised Natural England for giving only a few days’ notice of the event.

“I only received an email about the drop-in over the bank holiday weekend,” he said. “It could have easily been missed but luckily, I saw it and was able to advertise it.

“On the day, I went along to the drop-in, the Natural England representatives seemed surprised that only 10 people had turned up.

“The whole communication hasn’t been particularly good at all and now they are playing catch-up.

“When I visited, I asked why the designated area doesn’t cover the whole of the Yorkshire Wolds.

“We want Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status to encourage people to visit the area and if it is not all joined together, then perhaps that won’t happen.

“In areas like Fordon, the valleys are no different to those that have been included in the proposal. Further south, there are places such as Market Weighton and North Newbald, where there are lovely springs.

“And the main question is why isn’t Driffield involved. It might be the foothill of the Wolds but it is a major part of it. There are also SSSI sites, including one that starts behind Kirkburn church and feeds the River Hull.

“I can’t speak for the other parishes, but I told the representatives at the drop-in session that the area of designation should be extended and, at the very least, include places such as Driffield, Kirkburn, Lund and South Dalton.

“I would urge as many people, not just those living in the parishes, but visitors as well, to put their case for this area forward. From a tourism point of view, it will bring more people to the area and that can only help from a prosperity point of view for local businesses such as hotels and B&Bs.”

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