The official blog for the North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors – forged by nature, shaped by generations. Come and explore our National Park – 554 square miles of secluded dales, magical moors, ancient woodland, historic sites and 26 miles of stunning coastline, all easily reached from York, Teesside and County Durham. Read about our work here, and then pay us a visit!

The official blog for the North York Moors National Park

LEADER Programme: making ends meet

Amy Thomas – previously North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme Manager

After a busy few years we recently celebrated making the final grant offers of the 2015-2020 North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme.

Over the last four years we have successfully allocated nearly £3 million of European funding which has resulted in more than £5 million of investment overall in local communities and businesses, creating more than 65 new full time equivalent jobs and supporting around 30 farm businesses to invest in new equipment to make the way they farm more efficient.

Here are just a few of the fantastic projects that have successfully secured LEADER funding over the last few years.

Front page of Spirit of Yorkshire, a whisky distillery in Hunmanby, received £34,798 of funding towards creating their new visitor centre, shop and café.  The project created 4 new jobs and aimed to attract nearly 11,000 visitors in its first full year of operating.


LEADER - Horse and Hounds Area. Copyright NYMNPA.

Horse and Hounds, a new equine physiotherapy business in Rosedale, received grant funding of £37,687 towards an arena, stabling and a horse walker.  This start-up business is providing employment for a local young person.


LEADER - Cedarbarn plaque. Copyright NYMNPA.

Funding of £175,960 was granted towards the extension of the Cedarbarn Farm Shop and Café in Pickering to create additional space for the café, shop, butchery and kitchen.  Nine new jobs have already been created across all aspects of the business.

LEADER - Cedarbarn entrance. Copyright NYMNPA.

More than 20 farms from across the area received funding towards either mobile sheep handling kit with electronic weight systems and EID readers, or robotic milking machines.  Dependent upon the type and scale of the equipment funding was applied for, grants received range between £2,500 and £75,000.

A contribution of £138,860 was provided towards the Infrastructure, access and interpretation improvements which were made at Boggle Hole.  Coastal erosion issues and high visitor footfall meant improvements were essential along this popular stretch of the Cleveland Way.

Rural development funding can make things happen. Now that the LEADER Programme is coming to an end I’m looking forward to see what comes next.

North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme logo

If you’re looking for rural development funding the RDPE Growth Programme is open for applications until February 2020 – have a look here.

Funding up for grabs

Amy Thomas – North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme Manager

After an unavoidable slow start to the current North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme, we are finally underway and picking up speed!

We have around £400,000 of funding already allocated to a range of projects and businesses across our LEADER area. We want more projects to come forward so we can make the most of the money allocated for this area.

We are ideally looking for projects wanting a contribution towards capital works, which can spend by March 2019, and which will result in the creation of new employment opportunities, will help an existing business to grow, will support the visitor economy, or which will help a new business to get started.

Projects need to fit one of these priorities:

  • farming and forestry
  • micro / small business
  • tourism
  • rural services
  • culture and heritage

With recently supported projects ranging from a whiskey distillery to a mobile sheep handling unit, and a new coffee shop to a robotic milking machine, there are lots of ways in which we may be able to help you, your business or your community.

LEADER funded project - copyright NYMNPA. LEADER funded project - mobile handling facilities for stock. Copyright NYMNPA.

Anyone considering making an application for their business is likely to be eligible for up 40% towards costs, whilst projects which are for a wider public benefit could receive a higher percentage. To find out more the best place to start is our Programme website or you can get in touch with me to chat options though on 01439 772700 or by email. LEADER might be just what you’re looking for.


Helping turn plans into profit

Amy Thomas – North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme Manager

North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme logoIt’s great to be able to start a new year with some good news – so we are very pleased to say that the North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme is now open for business again.

LEADER funding is for projects that create jobs and help businesses grow and which therefore benefit the rural economy.

Between now and September 2018 the LEADER Programme in the North York Moors, Coast and Hills area is looking to support applications for projects or activity under the following four priorities:

  1. Farm Productivity;
  2. Micro and Small Business & Farm Diversification;
  3. Rural Tourism; and
  4. Forestry Productivity.

Farm Productivity
As an important and significant economic sector in the wider North York Moors area, the Programme wants to support the agricultural sector to grow and become more profitable. Applications under this priority need to help improve your farms productivity. Examples of potential activities include:

  • The purchase of equipment to improve the efficiency of use of water, energy, fertilizer, and animal feeds such as LED lighting in livestock sheds,
    specialist drills and crop robotics;
  • Support for businesses which process, market or develop agricultural products both on and off farm holdings, for example food and drink businesses and butchery facilities; or
  • Improvements to animal health and welfare for example gait analysis systems, mobile handling systems, and electronic weight systems linked to EID (electronic identification) readers.

Pickering Market Place

Micro and Small Businesses
LEADER wants to help establish, support and grow micro and small businesses in the area. Investments can be made which will help you produce more or something new, or help you access new markets or link up with other businesses in the area. All applications will need to show that the investment will directly result in increased employment opportunities and / or growth of the business. Farm diversification activities are also eligible.

Rural Tourism
Tourism is another key element of our Blue plaque - Brompton, near Scarboroughlocal economy. The LEADER Programme wants to support tourism businesses to improve their offer to visitors, to be more innovative in the use of technology, and to extend the season which will increase footfall and visitor spending in the area. Visitor attractions, facilities, products and services can all be considered. To be successful your application will need to show that jobs will be created and that the economy will benefit as a result of any funding being awarded.

Forestry Productivity
Our fourth priority is forestry. LEADER wants to support forestry contracting businesses or private forestry holdings requiring equipment and machinery to help produce, extract or process both timber and non-timber products. Continuing with the economic theme of the Programme, your application will need to show that LEADER funding will help create employment opportunities, and add value to the timber / forest products, as well as improve woodland management.

Forestry management in the North York Moors. Copyright NYMNPA.Our area has inspiring landscapes, unique attractions, notable assets and resourceful people – LEADER funding can help make more of these benefits. If you have plans for your farm, your business, your community, it would be well worth having a look at what LEADER is offering.

Full details on how to apply, including the Outline Application (and a list of eligible / ineligible equipment), can be found on our website –

Our website also has a lot more information on LEADER, but if you have any questions or queries, or would like to talk through a potential project or application in advance of submitting an Outline Application, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

LEADER funding confirmation

Amy Thomas – North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme Manager

After months of preparation and much anticipation, a couple of weeks ago we heard the news we had been waiting for – Defra confirmed that our bid for a new LEADER Programme in the North York Moors, Coast and Hills area has been successful!

 By Mike KiplingWe have been allocated just over £2.3 million to support projects and activities over the next six years which will deliver positive benefits to the local economy particularly through the creation of employment opportunities and the development of local business. We received the third highest funding allocation in England, and with 80 Programmes approved in total across the country, this was a fantastic outcome for us.

LEADER Programme priorities for this round are:

  • Farm Productivity
  • Micro and Small Enterprise and Farm Diversification
  • Rural Tourism
  • Rural Services
  • Culture and Heritage
  • Forestry Productivity

Hovingham Market by Chris J ParkerThe Programme is due to be officially launched in summer 2015 and we will be looking for projects to come forward under the six priorities from this point. Details on eligibility, criteria and how to apply for each round of funding will be on our website.

The LEADER Executive Group (individuals from the local area representing local communities, the business sector, tourism, forestry and agriculture) will oversee all grant applications and make decisions about how best to allocate the funding. The Group will also design and implement a number of larger scale sector specific support projects which were identified during the consultation process last year.

Many thanks to all our partners and members of the Steering Group whose commitment to the Programme and the area helped us achieve this welcome outcome. 

View of Saltburn by Mike NicholasNow we’re looking forward to delivering the Programme…

To keep up to date with the Programme as it develops and to receive news of upcoming opportunities – you might want to join our Local Action Group (LAG) – so please contact us. 


Opportunities to shape a new LEADER Programme

Jo Collins – LEADER Programme Officer

You might know that the North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER* Programme (2008 – 2013) has now ended.  

However, we are lucky enough to have secured a small amount of additional funding from Defra to help us develop a new LEADER Programme, which if successful, would take effect from 2015.

This is an exciting prospect with the potential to create and build on opportunities for our area and for local people to get involved from the beginning. The first stage of the process is to talk to local residents, businesses, organisations and communities to find out what needs and opportunities are present, and identify those that LEADER may be able to help with. The more information we have the better as this will assist us to gain a clearer understanding of our area and the support LEADER could provide.

There are going to be four initial consultation sessions where you can share your thoughts and ideas with us:

  • Hovingham Village Hall, Tuesday 18 February from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
  • Loftus Co-op Building, Thursday 20 February from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
  • Burniston Village Hall, Tuesday 25 February from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
  • Civic Centre, Northallerton, Tuesday 4 March from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm

If you think you might like to be a part of this exciting opportunity we would be delighted to see you at a session. Please contact Jo Collins at or on 01439 772700 to book your place.

If you can’t make it to any of the planned events you can still be involved – we would greatly appreciate any comments or ideas you may have for the local area. Please have a look at our online survey.

* LEADER is a European initiative for assisting rural communities to improve the quality of life and economic prosperity in their local area.

Looking out for innovation

Rachel Pickering – Conservation Officer

I am really looking forward to the 31 July this year as that is the deadline for our new Environmental Innovation Fund. This is a bit of a mouthful but it was hard to come up with a really simple name that summed up what we want to achieve with this new Fund. It was also hard to find examples of projects we are hoping to support because, with a bit of luck, they will be something so new and inspirational that I’ve never heard of them before!

In one sentence the Fund aims to encourage new thinking which benefits the environment as well as the local economy and/or the local community.

We are looking for innovative projects that contribute to at least one of the following objectives:

  • Renewable energy or energy efficiency e.g. the development of a low visual impact wind turbine
  • Utilising natural resources in a sustainable manner e.g. rainwater harvesting or recycling projects
  • Conserve the natural environment and cultural heritage, including skill development, e.g. the local restoration of rare arable plants

One of the biggest challenges this year will be to find large scale capital projects (they have to be over £10,000 total costs) by the end of July which will be able to deliver in the 7 month period between September 2013 and March 2014. However, we are hoping that this new Fund will be available in future years and that the application window for next year will be January to March to allow a full year for businesses to complete their projects. So, if you have an idea that isn’t quite ready yet, keep watching the National Park Authority’s website!

The best example I could find from projects that the National Park’s previous Sustainable Development Fund has supported in the past and which can act as an example of the sort of thing we’re looking for this time, is Econoplas. The company recycles plastic waste from RPvarious sources and makes a useful drainage material out of it. One of the best things about this is that they will take all types of plastic. I myself pay £2.00 a month for the privilege of filling a bin bag full of household plastics which I bring to work to join colleagues’ similar bin bags to be collected for recycling by Econoplas.

Over the past few weeks since the application window opened I have already had interesting enquiries from potential new projects. If you have a project that you are thinking about and would like to discuss please contact me on 01439 772700 or

All the details, including a simple application form and the explanatory guidelines, can be found on our website:

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