My Yorkshire: Lindis Percy

Lindis Percy is probably Britain's best known peace campaigner. She has been arrested on numerous occasions and imprisoned more than a dozen times.

She is banned from five US bases including her local Menwith Hill. She has been a committed peace campaigner since joining protests at Greenham Common in 1979 and has proved to be formidable and meticulous in her research. She lives with her husband Christopher, a retired chaplain, in Harrogate.

What's your first memory of being outdoors?

Probably when I was about two. I remember being in the raspberry bushes with my sisters, eating raspberries in the vicarage garden in Farnley, Leeds – my father was the vicar!

What's your favourite part of the county and why?Yorkshire is wonderful – it is of course the heart and soul of the universe! I love North Yorkshire and I love any of the Yorkshire Dales, but the smaller and perhaps not so well known dale of Littondale is a favourite place.

What's your idea of a perfect weekend/day out in Yorkshire?

Going out into the Dales with my husband, Christopher, walking. The Dales epitomise Yorkshire in my view. There is always somewhere in Yorkshire to go and to explore. We are very fortunate here. It is however so important that we make sure that the wonderful countryside of Yorkshire is preserved to hand on to future generations.

Do you have a favourite walk, or view?

Lots! Rounding the corner and seeing any of the Dales stretching out before me takes my breath away... but there is a walk in Littondale that I love which goes from Arncliffe over to Kettlewell. The walk has everything because it takes in many different terrains.

If you had to name your Yorkshire hidden gem, what would it be?

So many gems... but I love Bolton and Fountains Abbey – both in glorious settings – a wonderful sense of history. I have yet to go to Rievaulx Abbey and many of the historic houses and buildings. I know there are many gems waiting to be discovered.

What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity?

For me, it is the Dales, dry stone walls, Yorkshire stone, barns, wonderful, ancient monastic buildings, York Minister, rivers, streams, sheep grazing... it's magnificent. I continually come back to the Dales don't I? I like people to be honest so I like Yorkshire bluntness (with rudeness!) and Yorkshire people's unique sense of humour.

What about Yorkshire's cultural life?

We moved from Hull after 16 years to Harrogate 18 months ago. We went to several concerts at the International Festival last year, it was wonderful. We recently went to the newly-refurbished theatre in Harrogate and have been to

some of the excellent series of piano concerts in the Wesley Chapel in Harrogate. We have also been to concerts in Ripon Cathedral and York Minister. Some of the local hotels in Harrogate have recitals. There are so many diverse and rich opportunities very close by.

Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub?

So far probably Hedleys in Harrogate but there are many to choose from.

Do you have a favourite food shop?

Ahh! There are many but the monthly farmer's market in Harrogate is really good. I think we have allowed too many supermarkets to spring up stuffed with food and things and all looking much the same. I don't think it's been a positive step.

How do you think Yorkshire has changed in the time you've known it?

Although I was born in Yorkshire, we moved away and lived in many different places. However we have been back for nearly 20 years. The worst change has been the massive development at the American base at Menwith Hill in glorious Nidderdale. This base plays a crucial role in the war in Iraq. How can this have been allowed to develop with no accountability, occupied by the American forces and their agencies and out of control of the UK government? There is also Fylingdales on the amazing North York Moors, both bases connected to the crazy and dangerous American Missile Defense System – all our security is put at risk and the presence of these bases puts Yorkshire at risk. I co-ordinate the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases. We were the first campaign to find out that Menwith Hill was to be designated for Missile Defense and have worked ever since to let people know about this weapon system in space. The question for me is: do people want weapons which could destroy Yorkshire and possibly the world or choose to put money into social systems for the good of us all? For me the answer is obvious.

Are those changes for the better?

No and future generations will not thank us. We must hand on this beautiful county to generations to come and at the moment we aren't doing too well. I love Yorkshire and I'm determined to preserve and conserve it. We should do no other.

Who is the Yorkshire man or woman you most admire?

I'm not really into admiration but I enjoy Alan Bennett's writing. He came and spoke at an Independence From America rally on July 4 last year at Menwith Hill.

How has Yorkshire influenced your work?

Being born in Yorkshire means that my soul is grounded in this amazing county. I stopped paid work as a health visitor in inner-city Bradford 18 months ago after 13 years working there. I loved the work having spent all my working life in the NHS (36 years).

Name your favourite Yorkshire book /author/artist?

All Alan Bennett's work . I'm reading Untold Stories at the moment. He writes well, he describes many of the places I am familiar with, he keeps his accent, he is very funny and most of all he comes across as honest and humble. He is quintessentially Yorkshire. I also like David Hockney's portraits in the wonderful Salt's Mill in Saltaire near Bradford. You enter Gallery 1853 on the ground floor, where some of David Hockney's paintings, drawings and photographic collages can be found, through a massive old door and into a staggeringly peaceful place.There are always fresh flowers and wonderful music playing. I go there to be in this place.