Woodland enterprise

Raincliffe Wood Community Enterprise was set up back in 2016 to take on the management of Raincliffe, Forge Valley and Row Brow Woods near Scarborough. Their mission is to build a strong community enterprise that secures a safe and sustainable future for the woods while enhancing wildlife and community benefits.


They’ve been working ever since to restore these ancient woodlands to predominantly broadleaf with all the biodiversity benefits that brings to this important area. Part of it is a National Nature Reserve and the area also includes the Raincliffe & Forge Valley Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of its sequence of woodland types rich with botany, birds and other animals. The historic environment is also full of features related to past industry and endeavour such as charcoal platforms and a forge. The Community/Social Enterprise aspect means income generated through woodland management today is used to help make the ongoing management sustainable and also to provide associated activities such as improving access, increasing community involvement and providing education.


Recently the National Park Authority have been working with Raincliffe Wood Community Enterprise (RWCE) and others to carry out works in the woods to get rid of litter, keep access open, and tackle rhododendron. Have a look at the RWCE’s recent Working Together blog post to find out more and to keep up to date about future plans.

Raincliffe Woods - https://www.raincliffewoods.co.uk/

10 great things about the National Park’s coastline

John Beech – Heritage Coast Project Officer

  1. With a name like the North York Moors, people often don’t realise that we have a coastline too – 26 miles of stunning land and seascapes stretch between Staithes and Cloughton.
  2. Over 35% of our coastline is protected as a site of special scientific interest [SSSI] – one of the highest conservation designations you can get in this country, reflecting the amount of prime wildlife habitat we have here.
  3. Our coastline boasts beautiful clear inshore waters, dramatic craggy headlands, miles of golden beaches, hidden, secret coves, magnificent ancient gill woodlands, rocky reefs covered in marine life and undulating cliffs sweeping down to the shore.
  4. Our coastline is also a Heritage Coast, a national label given by Natural England because of its marvellous landscape qualities making it extra special amongst English rural coasts.
  5. The coastline here is a mineral coast too where signs of previous industry scatter the cliffs and shoreline. Fantastic examples of Alum houses, Jet holes, and Ironstone workings can be seen in many places along the shore.
  6. Known to some visitors as the Dinosaur Coast, over 180 million years of geological history can be seen in the cliffs here and plenty of Jurassic fossils are to be found lying on the shore if you’ve a keen eye.
  7. The coastal villages, some dating back to 12th century, were once a haven for smugglers with their narrow cobbled yards and alleyways providing handy hiding places for illegal contraband and goods.
  8. Our coast has been protected from invaders for centuries with many monuments and features designed to signal further inland that our island was under attack. Ravenscar, Robin Hood’s Bay, Goldsborough and Boulby all have obvious lookouts and signalling points still visible today.
  9. Access along the coast has never been better. Strolling along the Cleveland Way National Trail or cycling the Cinder Track between Scarborough and Whitby are great ways of exploring our coastal landscapes. Visits to the beach are equally rewarding.
  10. The smell of the sea air, the crashing waves on the shore, the bracing winds and the dramatic scenery make the National Park’s coastline an invigorating place to visit.

Small Scale Enhancements with cumulative effects

Clair Shields – Small Scale Enhancements Scheme Co-ordinator

The North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme is funding five Small Scale Enhancement Schemes across the LEADER area. These SSE Schemes co-ordinate and deliver small scale community projects which have been highlighted by members of the community. Priorities are the conservation & upgrading of rural heritage and village renewal & development i.e. projects that enhance the local village environment, strengthen and generate community cohesion or encourage community activities and village events.

Below, I’m highlighting a few of the most recent projects from the North York Moors SSE 

Underground heating system - Pockley Church

Underground heating system – Pockley Church

Underground heating system - Pockley Church

Underground heating system – Pockley Church

Pockley Church – The open afternoon at St John the Baptist Church at the beginning of April was a great success as approximately 30+ members of the public turned out to see the unique Victorian heating system being brought back into use. Both local residents and people from as far afield as Stockton on Tees turned up to the event. The warmth of the Church welcomed us in from the cold and a lovely cuppa and biscuit rounded off an enjoyable afternoon. A success all round!

Arts for Sustainability – This project involves the provision of a series of workshops for the public and schools focusing on butterfly biodiversity and conservation, and promoting the use of foraged plants. The workshops are being held at Dalby Forest Courtyard. Also the Danby Moors Centre will be hosting an art exhibition of art created from natural materials by Fine Art degree students (Saturday 18 May to Monday 17 June). All events are free.

Heritage Cycle Route – The Ryedale Folk Museum will be working with local community groups, history groups and cycling groups to develop Heritage Cycle routes. The plan is to create three family friendly routes of different lengths for local families to enjoy and at the same time help people connect to their local history.

Spaunton Pinfold - before

Spaunton Pinfold – before

Spaunton Pinfold – Work has recently been completed on the restoration of the listed pinfold in Spaunton Village. The pinfold was in poor condition mainly due to adjoining trees and their roots affecting the stability of the walls, and so this village feature was included on our ‘At Risk’ register. Despite initial concerns that the whole structure needed taken down and rebuilding a more sympathetic approach was agreed concentrating on selective areas of re-building. A pinfold (also known as a Pound) is a common historical (and cultural) feature in moorland villages – it’s an enclosure where stray animals were held until released on payment of a fine to the Pinder.

Spaunton Pinfold - after

Spaunton Pinfold – after

Oswaldkirk telephone kiosk - community at work

Oswaldkirk telephone kiosk – community at work

Oswaldkirk telephone kiosk - before
Oswaldkirk telephone kiosk – before

Oswaldkirk Telephone Kiosk – The wonky and dilapidated appearance of the kiosk put doubt into the community as to whether they should ‘adopt’ the kiosk from BT in the first place. However now the renovation of the Oswaldkirk telephone box is well underway, albeit slightly delayed by the weather! The aim is to restore the kiosk to its original appearance, or as near it can be, in order to provide a real enhancement to the character of the village. An excellent start has been made by the local community on the replacement of the discoloured plastic windows and flaky paint and rust – all the work is being done by them. All that is outstanding is the delivery of the internal equipment by a well-known supplier in Carlton Miniott.

Fylingthorpe Luncheon Club

Fylingthorpe Luncheon Club

Fylingthorpe Luncheon Club – The Fylingthorpe Methodist Chapel along with members of the local community asked for help to enable them to set up a Luncheon Club for up to 25 elderly residents of the village. The Club provides a freshly cooked meal as well as a friendly meeting place with all the benefits that increased social contact can bring. The Scheme purchased a new cooker for the Club.

Below are a few of the recent Ryedale SSE projects. These projects are outside the National Park but together with the North York Moors SSE and other area SSE partner projects, we’re generating community benefits across the whole of the wider LEADER area.

Exclamation Gates, Castle Howard

Exclamation Gates, Castle Howard

Exclamation Gates at Castle Howard – These Grade II listed gate piers have been repaired and restored with the support of the Ryedale SSE Scheme. As visitors and guests at Castle Howard were driven along, the view through the gates provided their first panoramic view of the rich and varied landscape created by Vanbrugh and  Hawksmoor under the patronage of the Earl of Carlisle – at which point they were expected to exclaim in wonder.

St Margaret's Church, Hutton Ambo

St Margaret’s Church, Hutton Ambo

St Margaret’s Church, Huttons Ambo – The Ryedale SSE Scheme was able to provide the funds to repair and rehang the cast iron gate and rebuild the subsiding gate pier in order to retain the attractive entrance to the village church.

St Michael's Church, Crambe

St Michael’s Church, Crambe

St Michael’s Church, CrambeTwo projects have been supported in the church grounds: the first was the repair of a number of tomb chests, and the second was the repair and re-erection of 27 headstones in the churchyard that over the years had been damaged, broken and pushed over by the horses that grazed there.

LEADER: community lead approach to rural development

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

The North York Moors National Park Authority doesn’t only try and conserve the natural and historic environment of the North York Moors; the Authority also has a duty to ‘seek to foster the economic and social well being of local communities’. Often, conserving the environment and supporting local communities can go hand in hand.

We deliver the North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme across the National Park and the wider area around, providing matched funding for community lead rural development projects. LEADER is a European fund for rural communities. Our Programme’s priorities are basic services, village renewal & tourism, and conservation & heritage. Our Programme has been running since 2009 and all the funding is now committed – which is good news because it means we’ve had our money’s worth and we won’t have to give any back.

The North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme itself officially ends at the beginning of 2014. Hopefully we can secure a future LEADER funded programme for the area after 2015 when a new Rural Development Plan for England will be in place. Between the end of the current Programme and the start of any future programme there will be a transition period with work required to demonstrate the need for a new programme locally through a Local Development Strategy, to identify delivery improvements and efficiencies, and to develop new relationships  e.g. with  Local Enterprise Partnerships. We will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, Jo Collins our new LEADER Programme Officer started in March. Jo will be working on the monitoring and evaluation of the current projects, and organising community consultations to provide information for the whole Programme evaluation and the transition into a future LEADER programme.

Work begins at Wilton Village Hall

Work begins at Wilton Village Hall

Examples of recent project progress have included a start on the new multi use games facility in Loftus, and major improvement works to Fadmoor and Wilton Village Halls. After a new heating system and double glazing was installed in Fadmoor Village Hall, the community were able to enjoy possibly their first warm Christmas party ever.

In March we hosted a group of French students who are studying forb MScs in public administration. The students’ research involves comparing similar rural areas across Europe.

There are a couple of upcoming LEADER Programme events –

  • a Local Action Group (LAG) meeting at Hutton le Hole on 24 April 2013, where LAG members can start to get involved in the process to develop a future programme by letting us know what they think about the current programme and what a new programme should look like and include;
  • and a joint final LAG event with the Yorkshire Dales LEADER Programme on 16 October 2013 at Fountains Abbey at which the final report and evaluation of the two programmes will be presented – more details to come nearer the time.

Everyone is welcome – but booking is required. Local Action Groups are made up of individuals who broadly represent the interests of the LEADER Programme area and its’ communities, and steer the policies and strategies of each Programme.