The protected areas of Yorkshire

The county of Yorkshire possesses some of the most beautiful countryside in the United Kingdom. Sometimes the beauty of the county is hidden by the wet and wild climate which at times makes being outside in the countryside not a very pleasant experience.

The county is home to a number of National Parks, different AONB, and a variety of Sites of Scientific Interest. This means that the land is now conserved and protected, and is also managed in a manner that makes it more accessible than it ever has been before.

The industrial revolution made the county economically rich but the huge spread of urban centers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, saw many natural environments and ecosystems being destroyed. Since the end of the Second World War great areas of the county have been placed in the hands of different authorities who are conserving these areas.

The North Yorkshire Moors and the Yorkshire Dales are the two National Parks that are located entirely in the county. However parts of the south of the county are located in the northern extremes of the Peak District.

The spectacular cliffs at Boulby

The North Yorkshire Moors were established in 1952 and the area stretches right up to the coast on the eastern side of the county. The 1430 square kilometers contain one of the largest expanse of heather moorland in the country. The area is basically a vast moorland plateau with local rivers cutting a number of deep valleys into the plateau, which are locally known as dales.

The moorland is home to acidic type vegetation such as heather and is also home to a number of peat bogs. The dominant agriculture is cattle and sheep as a result of the weak soils and the only breaks away from the moorland is when the rivers cut out the dales, where woodland exist.

Where the plateau reaches the coast it produces spectacular cliffs. The cliff at Boulby is 210 meters above sea level and is the highest coast on the eastern side of the United Kingdom. The Jurassic composition of the plateau results in steep cliffs and a spectacular scenery has been produced.

The Yorkshire Dales cover a larger area than the North Yorkshire Moors with 2178 square kilometers being covered. The scenery of the Yorkshire Dales is dominated by hills and valleys and one of the most popular parks in the country for activities.

Cycling is popular as is walking especially along the Coast to Coast Walk and the Pennine Way. The limestone hills are home to some of the most extensive cave systems in the country, and there is more caving done here than anywhere else in the UK.

Thwaite a typical Yorkshire Dales village

The land is dominated by sheep and cattle farming with fields separated by dry-stone walls. The many valleys do provide richer soils for vegetables and crops to be grown, and generally the climate is not quite as hostile as the one experienced on the North Yorkshire Moors.

Many visitors are attracted to the Yorkshire Dales by its scenic qualities and by the villages made from local stone, that are scattered through the many valleys that drain the area. It is a popular area for television crews to create series such as “Emmerdale” and “All Creatures Great and Small”. Yorkshire has managed to protect large areas of its natural environment and today it is reaping the economic rewards as these parks are popular destinations for both domestic and overseas tourists.