Ambitious plan for national park

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IT boasts some of the country’s prettiest villages, is home to around 20,000 historical and archaeological sites and has England’s largest continuous tract of heather moorland.

But according to a new report, the North York Moors National Park is losing tourists, its “brand” and identify are unclear, traditional skills are being lost and hundreds of heritage buildings are crumbling.

The 120 page document, a management plan for the next 15 years and beyond, includes a list of “aspirations” such as attracting another one million visitors over the next few years.

It also has many targets up to 2012 including:

Creating another 300 hectares of woodland and 150 hectares of species-rich grassland.

Restoring 600 hectares of ancient woodland, planted with conifers.

Reducing the number of Scheduled Ancient Monuments at risk by 65.

Removing 35 listed buildings from the at risk register.

Building 75 affordable homes.

Under aspirations, the report says the land could accommodate another 6,000 moorland sheep and produce a five percent increase in crop yields.

It follows research which asked how much a rural area could deliver without compromising the things that make it special.

A park authority spokesman said: “The plan spells out traditional goals to protect the park’s special qualities at the same time as supporting targeted extra food production, more visitors and more renewable energy.

“It also includes long-term aspirations for rural jobs, affordable homes, superfast broadband, water quality and flood prevention.”

One idea is the creation of “super highways” for wildlife which would allow species such as hedgehogs, butterflies and frogs to spread.

The plan can be viewed at www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/management-plan