Chris Wood

Have your say

CHRIS Wood, the man responsible for instigating a wealth of major projects during his time working for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, has died at the age of 64.

Before he left the quango in 1996, he was a driving force behind the establishment of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT), which manages the Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund and has delivered in excess of £10m of conservation projects to the area.

In addition, he developed the purpose-built National Park Centre in Grassington, relocating it from a temporary building in the car park to its current location, and obtained funding for and commissioned the redevelopment of the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

His work with other UK national parks also extended to production of a range of merchandise. In addition, he worked with academics at the University of East Anglia to develop Landscapes for Tomorrow, a computer system that tracks the impact of choices on the national park landscape which is still used today.

David Butterworth, the YDNPA’s Chief Executive, said: “Chris will be sadly missed. He was one of the great conservation enthusiasts and his approach rubbed off on those around him.

“His work has left a lasting legacy on in the landscape of the National Park – the conservation work continues and trails which Chris was involved in are still going strong.

“One of these is the Adam Sedgewick Geological Trail on the Sedbergh/Garsdale border, which was initially developed with the Craven Conservation Group in the late 1980s. The trail still remains a well-used, important route.

“His enthusiasm and vision helped the YDNPA to look at conservation in a different way and he was ahead of his time in understanding the role a charity such as YDMT could play in the work of the National Park.

“Our thoughts are with his family.”

Mr Wood eventually moved to Dorset and retired from his lecturing post in the School of Conservation Sciences at Bournemouth University in October last year.

He continued with his many academic activities in geology and speleology, and in his particular interest in volcanic caves, travelling worldwide to explore underground or deliver a paper at a symposium on some obscure aspect of vulcanospeleology.

For many years he ran an applied geography overseas field trip to Portugal and did significant original research during expeditions that he led in Iceland, also taking groups of students with him.

He was actively involved in many international initiatives with UNESCO, notably in China and was recently awarded the Fujian Province, China, 2011 Friendship Award.

This is a reward from Chinese colleagues for the work he did between 2008-2010 as lead technical adviser to six separate provinces in Southern China, relating to the science and site management of six spectacular sandstone national parks and their successful bid to become a serial world heritage site.