Tollerton proves to be village worth fighting for

The village of Tollerton has fared better than most of its counterparts but there is a potential blot. Picture by James Hardisty.
The village of Tollerton has fared better than most of its counterparts but there is a potential blot. Picture by James Hardisty.
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To pass through the Forest of Galtres north of York en-route to Durham centuries ago, travellers were required to pay a toll and so it was that from this custom, the North Yorkshire village of Tollerton gained its name.

Now home to a population of around 1,000 people, this rural village has fared far better than many others in the modern era, emerging from a time of ailing service provision still boasting two pubs, a doctor’s surgery, regular bus connections, a shop and a church.

Tollerton Ponds holds fishing competitions which bring people into the village and long-time visitors to Tollerton Caravan Park, drawn by locals walks and wildlife, add to the community’s vibrant mix.

Yvonne Brown is treasurer of the Tollerton village hall committee which holds community events. The hall itself is called the Tollerton War Memorial Hall. Originally, it was an old wooden army hut erected on land given over to the village in 1921 at a cost of £235 – a sum which villagers raised themselves.

The modern hall that now stands was built in 1976 and owes much to fundraising led by local businessman Richard Thompson – the father of Mrs Brown’s husband, Nick.

“The village is very good at raising money and being self-sufficient,” Mrs Brown said. “It’s a really lovely village community to live in and for a little village it has a strong heart.”

Among the regular programme of village events is a harvest time dance at the end of the summer.

Until about a decade ago, the village hosted an annual agricultural show. For financial reasons, it is no longer staged but a mini horticultural show is hosted by the Black Horse pub each September. It features live music and cake and vegetable competitions, with exhibits auctioned off in aid of local good causes.

Despite its vibrancy, there are concern over plans which many locals fear will damage the community. On Tuesday, North Yorkshire County Council is due to rule on plans from Cambridgeshire-based Galtres Energy Limited for an anaerobic digester plant and associated infrastructure – to convert food waste into energy – on a two-hectare site at neighbouring Sowerton Farm.

In opposition to the plans, fears include increased traffic, more than 200 people held a march through the village last Saturday. Planning officers have recommended the plan be refused.

Mrs Brown said: “There is nothing wrong with the concept of anaerobic digestion but this is a commercial, industrial plant on agricultural land.”

Jenny Jackson, who is leading the campaign against the plans, admitted: “Only when something is threatened do you realise how valuable something is to you and that it’s really worth fighting for.”

FACTS

Located alongside the River Kyle, Tollerton is in the Vale of York, four miles from Easingwold.

John Wesley, founder of the Methodists, is known to have preached on Tollerton’s village green in 1764.

The Yorkshire Post Magazine columnist Ian McMillan and musician Luke Carver Goss will perform an evening of “poetry, song and banter” at Tollerton Village Hall on March 29 at 7pm.