Landscape and Cultural Heritage Fund and Two Ridings Community Foundation report

As part of the planning process for the Allerton Waste Recovery Park, the former North Yorkshire County Council were required to establish a Landscape and Cultural Heritage Fund and Two Ridings Community Foundation managed the distribution of the fund on behalf of the the former County Council.

The Allerton Park Landscape and Cultural Heritage Fund was designed to assist with projects which enhanced the landscape, cultural heritage and biodiversity of the designated area of benefit around the Allerton Waste Recovery Park and also projects which helped to mitigate the visual effects of the site within that same area.

The area of benefit was defined by the boundary of the landscape character areas and communities most affected by the development. This included communities within the parish boundaries of: Allerton Mauleverer with Hopperton, Arkendale, Coneythorpe & Clareton and Flaxby.

And included some areas within the parish boundaries of: Marton Cum Grafton, Great Ouseburn, Little Ouseburn, Goldsborough, Whixley, Staveley, Boroughbridge, Ferrensby, Knaresborough, Dunsforth.

Where did the money go?

Grants were available to community groups, charities, individuals and private businesses. The fund was launched and the first awards were made in April 2016 and the final awards were made in February 2020. During this period 122 applications were received to the fund and 92 awards were made with a total value of £742,126.

There were three levels of funding awarded: Small grants up to the value of £1000, Medium grants from £1001 to £10,000 and Large grants from £10,001 to £50,000.

The table below shows the number of awards made in each size category:

  Number of grants Total value of grants awarded
Small grant awards 51 £45,285
Medium awards 27 £202,406
Large 14 £494,435

The table below shows the distribution of grant awards by type of applicant

  Number of grants Total value of grants awarded
Individuals 49 £259,543
Community groups/charities/churches 16 £233,825
Parish Councils 17 £156,856
Schools 9 £71,902
Businesses 1 £20,000

What difference has this made?

Improving landscapes and increasing local biodiversity

3.8 kilometres of hedgerow has been repaired

Long boardwalk elevated above mud and field to make it a drier walk
Forestry growing around hedgerow

2.9 kilometres of new hedgerow has been planted

Row of forestry being planted
Row of planted hedgerow waiting to grow

3400 trees have been planted

Hundreds of trees all planted in rows waiting to grow
Field of new trees being planted all over

14 ponds have been created or restored and 8 new wildlife areas have been created including over 2000 square metres of new wildflower planting along with new wetland areas and installation of numerous bat and bird boxes to increase local biodiversity and/or improve the local landscape and public spaces.

Grass bank on side of pond
Grass field on side of pond with sun flowers growing

Ferrensby parish meeting received a grant to give the village pond area a facelift, reinforcing the banks, dredging and introducing new planting.

Beautiful wildflowers growing in field

Whixley parish council received a grant to increase wildflower planting in public spaces within the village.

Grass pathway through growing wildflowers.

Arkendale & Coneythorpe parish council received funding to undertake an extensive tree planting programme throughout the parish and to improve the area around the Mar for both wildlife and the local community.

large pond surrounded by grass and beautiful tree line.

The parish council reported: ‘The difference is significant and already the increase and increased diversity in bird life especially is obvious. I am told the same is the case for amphibious life, the great crested newts in particular. The other significant difference the works have had is the impact on the visual character of the area. The Mar was a dilapidated and sorry looking water body. You could not see it’s full extent for the scrub and tree cover and it was an under utilised and under appreciated village asset. Now it looks fantastic and not only attracts wildlife but also people from the village who walk to it or walk through it, especially when out with their dogs’.

Pond surrounded by grass full of wildlife

This pond in Marton Cum Grafton provides a home for rare species associated with native wetlands and rarely found in isolated field ponds.

Large pond with trees and a field around.

The careful removal of silt and overgrowth to restore more permanent open water has improved this natural habitat.


Outdoor education & wildlife spaces have been created at 6 schools & 1 local charity that provides outdoor learning experiences for children with life limiting illnesses.

Overgrown shrubs surrounding small pond.

Boroughbridge High school received funding to make the school pond area into a useable space for pond dipping and outdoor learning.

Autumnal picture with leaves on field surrounding pond.

Although Boroughbridge High School sits just outside the area of benefit, its catchment area includes pupils from the primary schools within the Allerton Park Landscape & Cultural Heritage fund area. They are delighted with the space that has been created following the clearing of the pond and are looking forward to receiving more wildlife visitors, they have installed a wildlife camera to capture images to enable the children to see what is happening when they are not there.

A science teacher at Boroughbridge High school said, ‘The area looks amazing and is being used weekly now, in fact I can’t keep them out of it, which is great’. They are also planning to establish a ‘womble’ group to help with litter picking and maintaining the space.

To further support outdoor learning, all local schoolchildren were offered a voucher to enable them to receive a free bird box or bug hotel to install at home.

Two Ridings Community Foundation members standing together holding bird boxes.

Above are members of staff from Two Ridings Community Foundation and Rabbit Hill Country Store at the launch of the bird box scheme.

Cultural Heritage

14 projects have received funding to restore local features of cultural heritage including refurbishment of telephone boxes at Arkendale, Goldsborough and Staveley, restoration of the historic pinfold at Staveley and the renovation of the area around the war memorial at St Bartholomew’s Church in Arkendale.

Pinfold wall with vegetation surrounding being restored.

The pinfold at Staveley was refurbished.

Small gate on pinfold

Including removing damaging overgrown vegetation and replacing the gate.

War memorial in small village before refurbishment
War memorial in small village after refurbishment with shrubs and overgrown grass removed

The war memorial area at St Bartholomew’s church was resurfaced to make it more accessible, railings were installed around the churchyard to make the space safer and useable for community events and seating was installed.

Whixley Heritage Project

Collection of 4 leaflets titled Whixley heritage story, Life in the middle ages, a prominent family and changes down the centuries

In Whixley, the Whixley Heritage project received funding to contribute to a large community heritage project to both restore significant stained glass windows in the local church and also to research and tell the story of Whixley. This project involved a large number of community members, young and old, and now forms a display in the local church.

Ouse Gill Beck

A interpretation board which was created to learn all about Ouse Gill Beck

Ouse Gill Beck at Fishpond bridge has been improved with wildflower planting and new scrapes providing additional wetland habitat but in addition, a new interpretation board celebrates the significance of this area from a cultural heritage aspect providing historical information about the area.

Telephone box which has been restored as a defibrillator
Telephone box in centre of village which has been restored as a defibrillator

Phone boxes at Goldsborough and Staveley have been refurbished and now house the village defibrillators.

Improving access

2.2km of pathways have been created or repaired improving access for the local community into the local countryside.

Goldsborough parish council received funding to improve pathways and replace stiles to improve access.

Clear pathway that has been set out through tall grass and bushes
Fence gate with boardwalk beneath to help avoid the damp mud under fence

Improvements to pathways in Goldsborough parish means a much drier outing for walkers of the Knaresborough round.

Long boardwalk elevated above mud and field to make it a drier walk

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust received funding to improve and extend the boardwalk at Upper Dunsforth Carrs and at the same time were able to make use of recycled material. They said ‘The installation of 230m of recycled plastic boardwalk at Upper Dunsforth Carrs has improved access to the reserve significantly. The previous wooden boardwalk had rotted in many places and was not safe or suitable.

This new plastic boardwalk is much safer and has a vastly greater lifespan compared to using traditional wooden boards. The recycled plastic used is sourced exclusively from UK materials, such as milk bottles and other plastic containers. It’s estimated that the new boardwalk could contain between 50,000 and 60,000 recycled milk bottles’.

Nice path set out under tree canopy looking very scenic

Marton Cum Grafton Woodlands Group received funding to improve and extend the network of pathways through the woodland. They said: ‘The major beneficiaries have been the local population, of all ages, who are now enjoying a safe & proficient path network. There have been numerous positive comments made by local & not so local residents regarding the outcome of this project. The additional path route has significantly expanded the network giving greater options to both walkers & runners to enjoy their local environment & increase their activity. We have noticed not just a significant increase in use by the local population but also of residents from as far away as Whixley.

Wooden stairs with grass cut back on each side to make them a lot more accessible

Young children have particularly benefited as the local primary school, and children from a wider catchment area including Boroughbridge & Great Ouseburn, are now using the woodland to a far greater degree than previously. The environment has also benefited through using the new South West path to help control the spread of Himalayan Balsam into the Parish Woodland & also to help facilitate our bird box monitoring project’.

Added Value

In delivering the various funded projects, the value to the economy through use of local contractors and goods and services purchased locally within Harrogate district, is calculated at £171,086 (of this £97,359 was spent within a 5 mile radius of the Allerton Waste Recovery Park).

172 volunteers have been involved providing a total of 7604 volunteer working hours and a further £51,100 financial contribution has been added to the projects from other sources.

Volunteers helping to set up boardwalk used to cross fields without getting mud and dirt everywhere

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust volunteers replacing and extending the boardwalk at Upper Dunsforth Carr to improve access.

Two volunteers with shovels helping to dig out a pond which will be used to create a wildlife area

The Conservation volunteers digging out a pond to create a community wildlife area from a disused allotment at Great Ouseburn.

In conclusion

The large variety of projects that have received funding from the Allerton Park Landscape and Cultural Heritage fund will provide a lasting benefit to this area. Projects have been funded which will encourage wildlife and increase biodiversity with new & restored ponds, wetlands and hedgerows. Features of local cultural heritage have been restored to be handed to the next generation along with projects allowing the very young to learn about the world around them. Projects in schools developing outdoor learning spaces and community projects such as the Whixley heritage project pass down both natural and cultural heritage providing a sense of place and belonging.

Access into outdoor space has been improved and a variety of interpretation boards seek to inform local residents and visitors alike about the area around them. Community learning has been provided by local history projects and talks have been held locally about hedgehog care and an important Roman skeleton discovered locally! The number of volunteer hours involved with the various projects has added significantly to the value of the work undertaken and the report would not be complete without this acknowledgement. In Marton Cum Grafton, volunteers planted 18,000 bulbs to enhance the entrance to the village,

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust volunteers undertook the work to extend and repair pathways and the conservation volunteers renovated an allotment to put it back into community use as a wildlife area. Volunteers have also been involved with clearing nuisance species at Great Ouseburn and in the woodland at Marton Cum Grafton and looking after the nature reserve at Staveley.

Along with the volunteers, we would like to thank the local community for undertaking all of these projects which have served to enhance the local area so well. We would also like to thank the members of the local community that supported the decision making process, attending panel meetings to provide local insight and enabling grant awards that have really maximized the benefit of this fund to the local area and that will provide a lasting legacy.