Dales delight

THE Yorkshire Dales is not just synonymous with all those who live in this proud region. Its splendour is famous around the world, instantly evoking images of steam trains billowing over the Ribblehead Viaduct and such like.

When it comes to marketing this region at a global level, this national park, and also the North York Moors for that matter, underpin the entire promotional strategy. They are iconic names. Take these "brands" away and Yorkshire might suddenly lose much of its pulling power from a tourism perspective.

It is why the further extension of the Yorkshire Dales National Park's boundaries towards the Lake District must be handled sensitively if this is to pre-empt any discussions about changing the names of these areas.

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The Dales already encroaches into Cumbria – but this has not

necessitated the loss of the "Yorkshire" prefix. And nor should it. Sixty years after the creation of national parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District have become so deep-rooted into the fabric of the countryside that they can stand alone as separate entities.

Use of terms like the "Lakes to Dales Designation Project" by Natural England, however, threatens to lose this priceless sense of identity in a world of ever- changing values.

Of course, land worthy of special status should be protected – but that alone isn't sufficient reason for a generic description to embrace the majestic countryside sweeping across the North of England from the A1 corridor to the Cumbrian coast. Frankly, no name could do justice to this area.