A PROJECT to protect and raise awareness of the industrial heritage of the National Park is being launched in the Esk Valley.
The public are being consulted on plans by the National Park Authority to conserve and restore historical features surrounding ironstone mining and the railway.
Local information and stories from past times are also needed to form part of the project which will be based around Goathland and Grosmont as well as the Esk Valley and Rosedale, Kildale and Ingleby Greenhow.
The project, entitled ‘This Exploited Land’, will be based upon how the landscape of the North York Moors was changed by the extraction, processing and transporting of ironstone.
‘This Exploited Land’ will seek to conserve and restore key historical features, increase awareness and community participation, look after wildlife, improve skills and provide training for local people.
Julie Lawrence, Director of Projects for the National Park Authority, said:
“The North York Moors has a long imprint of human activity that has shaped the landscape over the years including alum, jet and coal mining.
“However, the speed and scale of the exploitation of ironstone in the 19th century must surely have been one of the most dramatic transformations as relatively remote farming communities were turned into bustling sites of industry almost overnight.
“Signs of this industrial heritage are still scattered through the National Park but work is needed to ensure that they are appreciated and will remain here for future generations.
“We would like people’s ideas about how best to achieve this along with input on which stories we should be shouting about so that more people can discover what a special and unique place this is.”
The discovery of ironstone in 1836 at Grosmont and its subsequent exploitation was the first stage of what developed into a major industry with ironstone from Grosmont and the surrounding areas helping fuel the industrial revolution in the north of England.
This coincided with the arrival of the horse-drawn Whitby to Pickering railway designed by George Stephenson which was used to transport the ironstone out to Whitby, then on to Wearside and Tyneside.
Sessions will be held locally on Tuesday 20 March at St Matthew’s Church, Grosmont; Monday 26 March at Ley Hall, Lealholm; Monday 2 April at Goathland Village Hall; Wednesday 4 April at Danby Village Hall from 5pm-8pm.