Alex Cripps – Ryevitalise Programme Manager
For the last two years we have been leading on the development of Ryevitalise, a landscape partnership scheme focusing on the River Rye and its tributaries.
So we are really delighted to report that we were successful with the final Stage Two application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and have been awarded nearly £2 million towards the delivery of this fantastic four-year scheme – starting now.
With match funding included Ryevitalise is a £3.4 million programme in total, focusing on three key themes:
- Water quality and the environment – restoring and conserving the aquatic habitats of the Rye and the rare and threatened species that the river and wider landscape supports;
- Water Level Management – harnessing natural flood processes to create a more naturally functioning river; and
- Reconnecting people – improving the understanding of the river landscape by telling the story of its evolution and encouraging people to protect their heritage.
Ryevitalise is very much a partner-led scheme with over 15 organisations working together to deliver their common goals across this part of the River Rye catchment. The River Rye and its tributaries meander through a variety of landscapes including moorland, upland farmland and lowland arable and livestock farmland; crossing over the National Park boundary into the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and into the non-designated wider Ryedale beyond. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to work closely with partners like the the Howardian Hills AONB, Ryedale District Council and the Environment Agency. The North York Moors National Park Authority itself is the lead partner and we’re currently recruiting the delivery team.
I’ve recently been appointed as the Ryevitalise Programme Manager and I’m really excited about this amazing opportunity to share my enthusiasm for rivers and the fascinating wildlife that the freshwater habitats and the surrounding areas support. One of the main goals is to reconnect people with nature and our river environments. I am really keen to raise the profile of rivers by looking at how valuable these ecosystems are, and how important they are to people both within the Ryevitalise area itself but also beyond. Over the next four years we will be working alongside local communities, including land managers and young people, reconnecting people to their local river systems and exploring how simple every day actions to help care for our rivers can collectively make a huge, positive difference.
There will be lots of opportunities to get involved, from practical conservation tasks such as Himalayan balsam control to species monitoring. There will also be a programme of expert talks, exhibitions and discovery events. Keep an eye on social media, our website or this blog for further updates once the new team are up and running.
If you are keen to get involved at the start please get in touch, perhaps you are a member of a local community group wanting to know more, a local land manager interested in improving water quality, or you would like to sign up as a Ryevitalise Volunteer – it would be great to hear from you!