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Yorkshire Dales National Park: a diamond in the landscape

[Wednesday 18 November 2009]

The extraordinary Dales landscape that has inspired writers and artists is being celebrated in a new photographic exhibition commemorating 60 years since the Act that created the UK’s national parks.

Local photographers have been invited to contribute images that capture for them what is special about the Yorkshire Dales National Park for the display at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

The Museum, which is owned by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), will stage the free exhibition until December 31 as part of the diamond anniversary of the signing of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act that led to the creation of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The 15 UK national parks are not wilderness areas, but living, working landscapes; the Yorkshire Dales National Park has been shaped over thousands of years by the people who have lived and worked here, and the images chosen for the exhibition reflect its farming and industrial heritage as well as its outstanding natural beauty.

Wilf Fenten, the YDNPA’s Member Champion for Promoting Understanding, said: “The Yorkshire Dales National Park was designated in 1954 for its outstanding natural beauty, the diversity of its wildlife habitats and its rich cultural heritage.

“But the story of national parks is also about the social movement towards the right of all to have access to beautiful countryside for the clean air and spiritual refreshment it provides, as well as one of conservation.

“In this diamond anniversary year it is fitting to remember all the reasons why these glorious places were protected for future generations to share in and enjoy.”

Sarah Nicholson, the YDNPA’s Communications Officer said: “With this exhibition, we are celebrating all the reasons why national parks are special places, and the Yorkshire Dales in particular – for its opportunities for quiet enjoyment as well as active recreation, its unique geology, dales and moorland habitats, wildlife, ancient farming landscape, communities and traditions.

“We have asked each of the photographers to provide one or two images that sum up their personal relationship with this landscape and to put those sentiments into words to display alongside their photos.”

A print by David Speight, who won the Yorkshire Dales National Park category of the national Take A View: Landscape Photographer of the Year Award, is also on show.

The exhibition includes an on-screen presentation of the story of national parks and how the anniversary has been celebrated in the Yorkshire Dales, including a jubilee weekend at Bolton Abbey this summer.

Visitors are asked to express their feelings about the National Park in a comments book and put their thoughts and their own photos online via the YDNPA’s Facebook and Flickr pages.

The exhibitors are Emma Amsden, Whitfield Benson, Mark Butler, Hilary Fenten, Steve Gosling, Mike Hoyle, Yan Preston, Richard Ross, Daren Smith, Margaret Smith, Rod Smith, Paula Solloway, David Tarn and Simon Warner.

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