One thing is assured, the life of a reporter is always varied, maybe more so when you ply your trade where there’s fewer people and far more sheep…
North Yorkshire is a charmed land; through man’s boundaries the county encapsulates two National Parks and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
My week started in one of them, the Yorkshire Dales. A landscape of tough farming, beautiful scenery and cavorting country lanes funnelling tourists into unspoiled valleys.
I visited two farms in the area. The first, owned by Yorkshire Water, who have rented over two thousand acres to a local young farmer. Alongside the company, Jonathan is aiming to viably farm the land, but also boost the biodiversity amongst the heather, grasses and woodland stands.
The tagline for the project is ‘Beyond Nature’ and as we looked out over the beck, my eyes where drawn to a ghyll etched hard into the hillside. It struck me Jonathan will have no end of nature to work with and some interesting places from which to detangle a sheep….
From Blubberhouses I went to Malham to meet Neil and Garry. Two upland hill farmers who work some of the loftiest land in North Yorkshire.
A previous conversation with Neil in his farmhouse kitchen, revealed farmers in the area are set to go months without any financial support from the government. Payment for environmental schemes farmers subscribe to and for the management they carry out.
A change in the system means some farmers in the area will have eleven months without payments, unable to afford the cost of current management systems and technically able to work the land to their own tune.
Add the variance of Brexit into the mix and I was met by farmers keen to stress they aren’t looking for free handouts. Both are enthusiastic to undertake environmental work on the public’s behalf, but they are looking for answers of how they’ll be reimbursed for doing so.