Please Support The Orton Fells Landscape Designation With The Amendment Proposed By Friends Of The Lake District

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Here’s your chance to help positively influence British landscape conservation! Some readers will have visited the British Lake District National Park and the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales National Park. The chances are good that you will have passed through some beautiful countryside in between that wasn’t designated as Park the first time around in the late 1940′s,  Westmorland’s The Orton Fells.

The Orton Fells Landscape is being considered for inclusion in the Dales National ParkThe Orton Fells Landscape is now being considered for inclusion in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

It’s a wild and beautiful landscape of karstic limestone pavements, upland meadows and heather-clad moorland (home to Black Cock, a form of rare Grouse), hardy sheep and fell ponies, with the rich fertile Orton valley running to The Lunesdale gorge. It’s Eden District’s Wild West.

Fell Ponies at Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton Fells, Westmorland, CumbriaFell Ponies at Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton Fells, Westmorland, Cumbria

The time has come for all those of us who support our Orton Fells’ inclusion in The Dales National Park to write in to the Secretary of State for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman to voice our support and suggest amendments where they seem desirable.

Aerial view of distinctive limestone pavement overlooking The Orton valleyAerial view of distinctive limestone pavement overlooking The Orton valley

Limestone pavement above Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton FellsLimestone pavement above Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton Fells, rare sub-arctic flora micro-habitat of internationally recognised importance.

Why would this be a good thing?
It is likely that our Orton Fells’ inclusion in the National Park would help conserve the natural beauty of this lovely area of Westmorland for our own and future generations and would facilitate considerable economic uplift for local businesses while being an asset to the Nation and for visitors from other regions. The inclusion of our area is long overdue, everybody so far consulted agrees that the natural beauty warrants conservation. Some of the most beautiful Dales in the National Park are Cumbrian (Mallerstang with its historic Pendragon Castle for instance) and in no sense would our section of the Park be a “poor cousin”, we would preserve our identity under a wider banner that truly deserves special status for landscape quality and that is closely connected geologically and topographically with The Dales.
Naming 
We have had the spoken assurance of The Dales National Park’s Chief Executive (at the January 19th Fells To Dales Business Forum meeting in Kirkby Stephen) that the naming of our area of the Park will be arranged to best suit local wishes, for example The Westmorland Fells or Westmorland Dales. This may well be resolved at a Public inquiry, should we have one, later in the year.
Economic Benefit
At the same meeting we heard estimates of anticipated economic benefit for local businesses involved in tourism to be somewhere between 10 and 20% increase in annual turn-over, with the duration in occupancy expected to be extended to about 34 weeks in the year.
Amendments
At this stage we can still ask for amendments to the planning, if we wish. One important amendment to request would be the adoption of the northern boundary proposed by The Friends of The Lake District that would include land with superb views around Reagill and Sleagill. A good deal of thought has gone into this boundary suggestion and it enjoys popular support among many of the residents of those Parishes.
Making Your Voices Heard – Key Points

  • You don’t have to be a resident to voice your opinion on this matter. Past and prospective visitors to the area are welcome to voice their support, please state your interest and it will count.
  • In your communication please include your name, address and signature and include your message.  Please refer to the benefits mentioned above as justification if you wish.
  • Each member of your household may write in separately with equal validity.
  • Numbers count.
  • This is a once in a life-time opportunity that will have far-reaching and long lasting benefits for us and the Nation.

The address to write to, please, is:
Department for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
Protected Landscapes Team,
Zone 1/09 Temple Quay House,
2 The Square, Temple Quay,
Bristol
BS1 6EB
Or by email to nwvariationorders@defra.gsi.gov.uk

The deadline for getting your message to DEFRA is March 16th.
For more information on the planning, please see the Lakes To Dales Section of Natural England’s Website

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