If ever a community was to care about the environment, it makes sense that it would be in ‘God’s Own County’.

The dramatic beauty of North Yorkshire’s landscape and its rural economy is enough to focus minds on the importance of protecting the natural environment and that is exactly what happened in Kirkbymoorside, many years ahead of widespread national recognition of the issue.

Kirkbymoorside Environmental Group was established soon after the turn of the century and became established as a cornerstone of society, developing from initiatives like handing out low-energy lightbulbs in an era where they remained a novelty, to getting the community recognised as a Transition Town and taking many steps to increase attention on environmental issues.

By 2015, the group achieved the status of a small and friendly unregistered charity and a catalogue of sub-groups were formed, increasing attention on issues like encouraging local power generation, sustainable transport, reducing waste and more.

Successes have included challenging proposed cuts to the Moorbus service, which provides a lifeline to residents in areas with few transport links, which was successful and allowed later expansion to Moorbus services.

Bus driving along a North Yorkshire road with heather at the sides.

A Repair Café was established several years ago, meeting once every two months. It proved highly popular, though a combination of the coronavirus pandemic and illness meant it had to stop.

The Environment Group’s June Emerson said it was hoped the sessions could be restarted and a search has been launched for volunteers willing to run it.

“We had a couple of people doing sewing, a computer chap and a couple of people who were good at mending more or less anything, it was very good,” she said.

The group also ran Give or Take days for a decade before the pandemic, sessions where people could donate items they no longer wanted and others could pick up things useful to them, all without exchanging money at the twice a year sessions.

The group plans to restart those events, which were extremely popular and saw people queuing for entry, in April, with Sunday, April 24, earmarked for the day.

“They have been a terrific highlight in Kirkbymoorside,” said June, “with people coming quite a long way to visit. People would queue to get in.”

The group is also looking forward to new opportunities and is currently in talks with some major landowners in the area over the prospect of preserving more semi-mature trees in hedgerows, to add increased substance to the impact of wider tree planting initiatives in the area.

More information is available on the Kirkbymoorside Environmental Group's website.

Captions: Nelly Trevelyan is seen here mending a plate metal toy at the ‘repair café’, which the Environmental Group is looking to reinstate.

The Moorbus service was saved after a campaign involving the Environmental Group.