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Vote for your favourite dales wildlife

The Yorkshire Dales are one of Britain's finest areas for natural history. In this article Daelnet natural history editor Brin Best encourages you to look at our beautiful region and vote for your wildife highlights. use the form at the end of this article to submit your vote

I'd like to start the year by encouraging you to vote for your wildlife highlights of the Yorkshire Dales. During 2006 we were encouraged to vote on a whole range of issues, from historic buildings to be restored, to favourite British cultural icons. But somehow we were not invited to vote on the natural wonders on our doorstep. One of my new year's resolutions is to redress this balance.

Birds Eye Primrose

We are truly blessed in our part of the world that we have such a wealth of natural splendour. We have range of natural habitats and charismatic species that are all contenders for the title of favourite wildlife highlight. But I'd like to challenge you to think about which are your top five favourites - the highlights that embody what the Yorkshire Dales are about.

To kick off the debate, I'd like to propose two of my own favourites that I hope may also strike a chord with readers - a bird and a flower. Both, in their own way, sum up the Dales for me.

I find the curlew the most evocative of the Dales birdlife. There is something about its wild call that reflects the scenery which the bird inhabits. Curlews have declined in many parts of the UK owing to land use changes, but are still doing well in the Dales. If there were to be a natural emblem for the area from the bird world I can think of no better example than the curlew.

While looking up at displaying curlews on the wing, it's sometimes easy to forget that at the right time of year under your feet is a veritable carpet of wild flowers. My favourite Dales plant is one which can turn limestone grassland pink in early June - the stunning little bird's-eye primrose.

To find a perfect, miniature primrose growing wild in the Yorkshire Dales was one of the real highlights of moving to this area fifteen years ago. The fact that in England the Dales provide a real stronghold for this local plant is something which we should all be very proud of. If you have not yet headed out to find the pink blaze of this delicate plant, make sure that 2007 is your year of discovery.

A vote such as this only works if you get involved, so I'm hoping to be deluged with correspondence on this topic! Please write to me with your thoughts at Innovation for Education Ltd, 6 Manor Square, Otley, LS21 3AP or by emailing me at the address below. I really look forward to hearing from you.

I hope your new year resolutions will include one that brings you closer to nature in 2007.

Your views:

  • I have wonderful memories of growing up in Yorkshire and going for picnics in Bluebell Wood near Great Ayton.The carpet of Bluebells that covered the woodland floor was awe inspiring.I have a large photograph of the Bluebells framed to remind me of those wonderful times with my parents.

    Clare Walker - Delta, British Columbia, Canada

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