Cleveland Hills are jewel in North York Moors, protect them – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Harry Mead, Great Broughton, Stokesley.

Roseberry Topping is emblematic of the North York moors. Photo: Ian Day.

FROM your report of the imminent retirement of Andy Wilson, the chief executive of the North York Moors National Park (The Yorkshire Post, June 20), I was intrigued to learn that among the changes during his 20 years at the helm is that the park now “works with the wider area as well”. He instanced Malton, seven miles outside the park.

Some years ago, at one of the park authority’s area public forums, I raised concern about encroaching development on the park’s northern perimeter, where the boundary is very tightly drawn against the dramatic escarpment of the Cleveland Hills.

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I urged the park to seek to establish a protective buffer zone for this magnificent feature, which carries the Cleveland Way, a premier national trail, and Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk, a magnet for tourists worldwide despite still being denied official recognition.

Is enough being done to protect the North York Moors from encroachment? Photo: James Hardisty.

In fact such a buffer was originally intended for the park but was abandoned through powerful farming opposition.

At the area forum, I was firmly told the park had enough to do within its boundaries.

Since then, however, while the Dales and the Lakes national parks have expanded to enfold a little-visited region facing no serious threat, pressure along the northern rim of the Moors, from industry, leisure and housing, has persisted with little check.

It must be hope that Mr Wilson’s successor will recognise that safeguarding the setting of the Cleveland Hills – the setting, some would say of the jewel in the crown – merits far greater priority than forging ‘foodie’ links with Malton.

Long term, the degradation of the Cleveland escarpment, from which the views out are as vital to enjoyment as the views in, could imperil the Moors’ status as a national park.

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James Mitchinson

Editor